Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and is classified as a dwarf planet. It was discovered by Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi on January 1, 1801. Ceres is approximately 940 kilometers (about 584 miles) in diameter, making it the largest object in the asteroid belt and accounting for about one-third of the belt's total mass. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefined the term "planet," which led to the classification of Ceres as a dwarf planet along with Pluto and Eris. This reclassification was due to Ceres not meeting all three criteria defined for a planet: it has not cleared its orbit of other debris, it orbits the Sun, and it is spherical in shape due to its self-gravity. Ceres has intrigued scientists because it may possess water ice beneath its surface, and there's evidence of water vapor plumes occasionally emanating from its surface. This has led to speculation about the potential for past or even present microbial life on this distant world. In 2015, NASA's Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around Ceres, providing close-up images and valuable data about its surface composition, geology, and other features.
As of my last update in January 2024, there were no known significant risks of Ceres impacting Earth. Ceres orbits the Sun in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and follows a stable orbit that does not intersect Earth's orbit in a way that would pose a threat of collision. Ceres is also much smaller than Earth, with a diameter of about 940 kilometers (584 miles). Objects with potential for Earth impact are typically tracked and monitored by various space agencies and observatories around the world. However, Ceres is not considered a threat in this regard. It's important to note that while asteroids and other celestial objects can pose potential risks of impact with Earth, the likelihood of such an event occurring is generally very low, and significant efforts are made to track and study these objects to understand and mitigate any potential risks