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In this article from the Vatican Observatory’s Sacred Space Astronomy/The Catholic Astronomer blog, Br. Bob Macke, S. J. (an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory) writes that
Today, just under 800,000 asteroids and Trans Neptunian Objects are known and catalogued by the Minor Planet Center of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, with more being discovered every day. However, before 1800 the existence of this entire class of objects was entirely unknown. The first asteroid, which today we know as (1) Ceres, was discovered by an astronomer who was also a priest: Fr. Giuseppe Piazzi C.R.
Click here to access this article from Sacred Space Astronomy.