Juno (pronounced /ˈdʒuːnoʊ/, or as in Latin: Iūno), formal designation 3 Juno in the Minor Planet Center catalogue system, was the third asteroid to be discovered and is one of the larger main-belt asteroids, being one of the two largest stony (S-type) asteroids, along with 15 Eunomia. Juno is estimated to contain 1% of the total mass of the asteroid belt. Juno was discovered on September 1, 1804, by German astronomer Karl L. Harding and named after the mythological figure Juno, the highest Roman goddess.
Juno is one of the larger asteroids, perhaps tenth by size and containing approximately 1.0% the mass of the entire Main asteroid belt. It is the second most massive S-type asteroid after 15 Eunomia. Though one of the most massive asteroids, Juno has only 3% the mass of Ceres.
Amongst S-type asteroids, Juno is unusually reflective, which may be indicative of distinct surface properties. This high albedo explains its relatively high apparent magnitude for a small object not near the inner edge of the asteroid belt. Juno can reach +7.5 at a favourable opposition, which is brighter than Neptune or Titan, and is the reason for it being discovered before the larger asteroids Hygiea, Europa, Davida, and Interamnia. At most oppositions, however, Juno only reaches a magnitude of around +8.7—only just visible with binoculars—and at smaller elongations a 3-inch (76 mm) telescope will be required to resolve it. It is the main body in the Juno family.
Juno was originally considered a planet, along with 1 Ceres, 2 Pallas, and 4 Vesta. In 1811, Schröter estimated Juno to be as large as 2290 km in diameter. All four were re-classified as asteroids as additional asteroids were discovered. Juno's small size and irregular shape preclude it from being designated a dwarf planet.
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