Where can asteroids be found in the solar system?

Beside the main belt, which is the most numerous group of asteroids, there are other significant groups found elsewhere, particularly groups of asteroids that cross the Earth's orbit.
The location in the solar system is a good basis for a first classification of asteroids:

  • Main Belt: located between Mars and Jupiter roughly 2 - 4 AU from the Sun. These asteroids are further divided into families.
  • Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs): these atseroids closely approach the Earth. They are divided in different classes such as Atens, Apollos and Amors
  • Trojans asteroids lie in the orbit of Jupiter, on special positions called lagrangian points.
  • There are a few objects, belonging to the Centaurs family, that orbit in the outer solar system, following unstable planet-crossing orbits. These objects are probably more like Kuiper belt's comets than normal asteroids.