7 Iris is a large main-belt asteroid. Among the S-type asteroids, it ranks fifth in geometric mean diameter after Eunomia, Juno, Amphitrite and Herculina.
Its bright surface and small distance from the Sun make Iris the fourth brightest object in the asteroid belt after Vesta, Ceres, and Pallas. But at typical oppositions it marginally outshines the larger though darker Pallas. It has a mean opposition magnitude of +7.8, comparable to that of Neptune, and can easily be seen with binoculars at most oppositions. At rare oppositions near perihelion Iris can reach a magnitude of +6.7 (next time on October 31, 2017 reaching a magnitude of +6.9), which is as bright as Ceres ever gets; reports of it being seen without optical aid are unverified.
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Category: Astronomical Symbols.
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