Location of the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter

  1. There is an Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. I have a few questions about it. Where does it start and end (Radius from the Sun)?
    Also, the Right Ascensions and Declinations of the extents of the belt or if it is continuous around the sun?

    I know that some of the larger asteroids and Ceres have elliptical orbits so humor me.

    Some websites would be helpful.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Chronos

    Chronos 10,210
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The 'main' asteroid belt is mostly between the orbits of mars and jupiter. It is thought to be the remnants of a planet that was torn apart, or was unable to form in the early solars system. For further discussion see
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_belt
     
  4. Does the main asteroid belt have a breath and width in RA and DEC?
     
  5. Chronos

    Chronos 10,210
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    It lies mostly within the ecliptic.
     
  6. But how big and the location of the debris in the ecliptic. Is it like the rings of Saturn or is it a larger dispersion.
     
  7. HallsofIvy

    HallsofIvy 40,925
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    It is, in fact, dispersed pretty uniformly about its orbit.

    Of course, the asteroid belt, being a swarm of independently orbiting bodies, does not have "hard" width but according to http://www.bnsc.gov.uk/4749.aspx it is approximately 180 million km in width.
     
  8. I think the Main Belt is defined as being between 2.0 AU and 3.5 AU. Outside of that and objects fall into different categories. Nature, of course, is under no obligation to fit our preconceptions.
     
  9. I answered my own question about the asteroids in the Declinaton dircection using this site:

    http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/dat/ELEMENTS.NUMBR

    This site shows all the major dwarf planets and asteroids. I just looked at all the inclinations,i, for a semi-major axis,a, between 2 and 3.5AU and found the largest i to be about 64deg for about the first 1000 or so averaging between 10-30deg.
     
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