The asteroid belt is located between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter. In this specific region, you will find the vast majority of asteroids. These asteroids are also known as minor planets or planetoids. Some major asteroids in the asteroid belt are Ceres, Vesta, Pallas and Hygiea. These four asteroids comprise around half of the mass of the entire asteroid belt. Ceres is the only asteroid which is categorized as a dwarf planet as it is the largest asteroid in the inner solar system.
Facts you didn’t know: –
- These small solar system bodies also orbit the Sun. These bodies are irregularly shaped and made up of rock and metal.
- Italian astronomer Giuseppe was the first one to discover an asteroid in 1801. He named the asteroid Ceres.
- The thickness of the asteroid belt is about 1 astronomical unit (AU).
- Johann Titius was the first one to discover the asteroid belt. He analyzed a mathematical pattern of planetary layouts in the solar system.
- Asteroids vary in sizes. Some of them are as small as pebbles and some of them have a diameter more than 400 km.
- The entire belt is made up of billions of bodies but only 7,000 of them have received an official name designation.
- The average distance between two asteroids is 600,000 miles.
- Asteroids are somewhat similar to comets but do not lack the coma that appears as a tail.
- Some asteroids are solid objects and some of them are more like piles of rubble loosely clung together.
- According to scientists, asteroids are leftovers of the early solar system.
- Some asteroids can be moved out of the belt and sent to the outer solar system because of gravitational influences.
- Asteroids contain high volume of resources that are highly valued on earth like: – nickel, iron and titanium.
- The average surface temperature of an asteroid is -73°C.