There is a belt of rocks, AKA a planet that has not yet formed, that orbits the Sun. It orbits between Mars and Jupiter.
What is the asteroid belt?
"The asteroid belt is a region of space between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter where most of the asteroids in our Solar System are found orbiting the Sun. The asteroid belt probably contains millions of asteroids. Astronomers think that the asteroid belt is made up of material that was never able to form into a planet, or of the remains of a planet which broke apart a very long time ago. The asteroids in the asteroid belt come in a variety of sizes. Some are very small (less than a mile across), while others are quite large. The largest asteroid is called Ceres. It is about one-quarter the size of our moon. It is a dwarf planet."—Cool Cosmos
Bode's Rule and The Discovery of the Asteroid Belt
Johanne Bode had an idea in 1772, a mathematical idea about the orbits of the known planets. There is a pattern that became known as Bode's Rule. It examined the distances between the known planets. When he worked with these numbers, he found a relationship that appeared to be broken when no planet was found between Mars and Jupiter. This stumped Bode since asteroids can't be seen through most telescopes from Earth, they are too small and too dark. However, many of them have been spotted and plotted using astrophotography. On January 1st, 1801, Piazzi observed a tiny object in an orbit with the exact radius predicted by the Titius-Bode law, which he named “Ceres” after the Roman goddess of the harvest. Fifteen months later, Heinrich Olbers discovered a second object in the same region, it was later named 2 Pallas. Astronomers began to notice more and more smaller bodies also orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. This led to the creation of the term “asteroid.” In no time, the “Asteroid Belt” became discovered and understood.
- The Asteroid Belt contains billions and billions of asteroids.
- We only know about roughly 7,000 asteroids.
- The formation of Jupiter disrupted the formation of any planets in the Asteroid Belt.
- The Asteroid Belt is often referred to as the “Main Belt” to distinguish it from other groups of asteroids.
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“Ask an Astronomer.” Cool Cosmos, http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/ask/185-What-is-the-asteroid-belt-.
“Asteroid Belt Facts - Interesting Facts about the Asteroid Belt.” Space Facts, https://space-facts.com/asteroid-belt/.
Redd, Nola Taylor. “Asteroid Belt: Facts & Formation.” Space.com, Space, 5 May 2017, https://www.space.com/16105-asteroid-belt.html.
Williams, Matt. “What Is the Asteroid Belt?” Universe Today, 4 Aug. 2016, https://www.universetoday.com/32856/asteroid-belt/.
“Space Mood.” Images of Galaxy In Our Asteroid Belt - #SpaceMood, https://ccswim.info/space/galaxy-in-our-asteroid-belt.html.