Amazing Asteroid Belt Facts and Information

Amazing Asteroid Belt Facts

The asteroid belt is a region between the orbits of planets Mars and Jupiter. Millions of asteroids are present in it, ranging from the size of small rocks to as big as 1000 Km in diameter. It is a disc shape region full of asteroids, in our solar system. The asteroid belt is also referred to as “main asteroid belt” or “main belt” to distinguish it from other asteroids families in our solar system.  Estimated total mass of the asteroid belt is 3*10^21 Kg, which is far less than the mass of our earth (~5.9*10^24 Kg).

Four objects constitute almost half of its mass. These are “Ceres”, “Hygiea”, “Vesta”, and “Pallas”. The largest asteroid ever recorded is Ceres. Its diameter is almost 950 Km. Also, Ceres is the 5th dwarf planet of our solar system. On the other hand Hygiea, Vesta and Pallas have a diameter of less than 600 Km.

Asteroid Belt Facts And Information

No. of asteroids with at least 1 km in diameter 1 to 2 Million
Estimated Mass 3*10^21 Kg
Location Between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter
Largest Object Ceres
Largest Object Diameter 950 Km
Discovery of the first object 1-1-1801

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Many people ask if there was a planet between the planet Mars and Jupiter that was destroyed to ultimately form the main belt. This video addresses the above question. This short video also reveals some interesting asteroid belt facts. Go ahead and enjoy watching it! 

Asteroid Belt Facts:

  • There is enough distance between asteroids in the asteroid belt (main belt) to fly a spacecraft between it. As it is seen from the image of the asteroid belt that it is filled completely with asteroids, but it is not the case. There is a large distance between the asteroids in the main belt. Even spacecraft can easily fly between it.
  • The first object discovered in the main belt was “Ceres”. Its diameter is almost 950 Km. Also, Ceres is the smallest dwarf planet of our solar system.
  • Giuseppe Piazzi discovered “Ceres” in 1801. This was the first discovered asteroid of the main belt. Piazzi named it Ceres after the Roman goddess. Piazzi believed it to be a comet but it lacks coma, which showed that it was a planet. Now, IAU has described it as a dwarf planet.
  • It has only one dwarf planet. Ceres is the only known dwarf planet in the main belt.
  • Four objects make almost half the mass the main belt. These are Hygiea, Ceres, Pallas, and Vesta. Ceres is the biggest and most massive of all of these objects.
  • It is located about 2.2 to 3.2 astronomical unit (AU) from the sun – One AU is the distance from the earth to the sun.
  • The asteroids in it are made up of metal and rocks. Most of them have irregular shapes.

If you enjoyed reading these asteroid belt facts, you’ll probably like reading:

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Footnotes:

Wikipedia

NASA

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