Vesta, minor-planet designation 4 Vesta, is one of the largest asteroids in the Solar System, with a mean diameter of 525 kilometers (326 mi).
Vesta is the second-most-massive asteroid after the dwarf planet Ceres, and comprises an estimated 9% of the mass of the asteroid belt. The less-massive Pallas is slightly larger, making Vesta third in volume. Vesta is the last remaining rocky protoplanet (with a differentiated interior) of the kind that formed the terrestrial planets. It lost some 1% of its mass less than a billion years ago in a collision that left an enormous crater occupying much of its southern hemisphere. Debris from this event has fallen to Earth as howardite–eucrite–diogenite (HED) meteorites, a rich source of information about the asteroid.
Vesta is the brightest asteroid visible from Earth. Its maximum distance from the Sun is slightly farther than the minimum distance of Ceres from the Sun, though its orbit lies entirely within the Cererian orbit.
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