These detailed images were taken by ESO’s Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. Clockwise from top left, the asteroids shown here are 29 Amphitrite, 324 Bamberga, 2 Pallas, and 89 Julia.
2 Pallas was named after the Greek goddess Pallas Athena and is about 510 km wide. It’s the third largest asteroid in the main belt and one of the biggest asteroids in the entire Solar System. It contains about 7% of the mass of the entire asteroid belt andt was once classified as a planet.
89 Julia is about one-third the size of Pallas. It’s classified as a stony or S-type asteroid, as is 29 Amphitrite. 324 Bamberga, one of the largest carbonaceous or C-type asteroids in the asteroid belt. C-type asteroids may actually be bodies from the outer Solar System which followed the migration of the giant planets inward.
In total, the asteroid belt contains just 4% of the mass of the Moon, with about half of this mass contained in the four largest: the dwarf planet Ceres, 4 Vesta, 2 Pallas, and 10 Hygiea.
Image Credit: ESO