Basically, objects like

  • Asteroids
  • Meteoroids
  • Meteors
  • Meteorites
  • Comets
  • Etc.

As stated in the title, this also doesn't count human-made objects, such as

  • Space junk
  • Satellites,
  • Space stations,
  • Rockets or shuttles
  • Other crafts

Nor does it count what I'll call here massive or unrelated objects , such as stuff like

  • Dwarf planets
  • Planetesimals
  • Proto-planets
  • Moons
  • Etc.

Here's a visual representation of what I mean that I whipped up in a minute:


  • these are related but cannot be put under a common name. Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 5:31
  • 1
    Cosmic bodies? Space matter?
    – Ricky
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 6:08
  • @TechieBee: Yes, they can. Everything can. Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 22:36
  • @Ricky: Too general. You can call objects that are not among these smaller bodies either cosmic bodies or space matter. Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 22:37
  • 1
    By the definitions you give in your other question, isn't it the case that "meteors" and "meteorites" are not in space? They don't really seem to fit.
    – herisson
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 22:41

1 Answer 1


After a bit more research, I found my answer: small Solar System bodies (SSSB) is the official IAU term used for anything that is not a planet, dwarf planet, or moon.

In the article on the IAU site, "Pluto and the Developing Landscape of Our Solar System", they define it as:

a new IAU definition to encompass all objects orbiting the Sun that are too small (not sufficiently massive) to satisfy the definition of planet or dwarf planet.

For a more formal definition of the term, one can refer to the IAU's Resolution B5, made in 2006:

(3) All other objects³,except satellites, orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as "Small Solar System Bodies".

[Footnote 3] "These currently include most of the Solar System asteroids, most Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs),comets, and other small bodies."

  • I take it back. This term doesn't work either. Per @sumelic's comment above, meteors and meteorites are not technically in space, so this term I don't think encompasses them. Although it would work if one takes out those two terms; alas, that's not what I'm doing. Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 23:03
  • 1
    How is "small solar system bodies" a (generic) word?
    – Drew
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 4:56

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