asteroid belt

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asteroid belt

(main belt) The zone near to the plane of the ecliptic and between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter that contains the majority of asteroids, known as main-belt asteroids. The edges are well-defined at distances from the Sun of about 1.7 and 4.0 AU respectively and the orbits are strongly concentrated in the plane of the ecliptic. Even so, the individual asteroids in the main belt are widely spaced. The orbital inclination becomes more scattered on moving through the belt. The average inclination is about 10° and the average eccentricity is 0.15. All the bodies are in direct motion. Occasional collisions between asteroids occur at velocities of about 5 km s–1. See also Kirkwood gaps.

asteroid belt

[′as·tə‚rȯid ‚belt]
(astronomy)
The region between 2.1 and 3.5 astronomical units from the sun where most of the asteroids are found.
References in periodicals archive ?
Last year, two Delhi school students discovered a Main Belt Asteroid for the first time in the history of Indian schools during the same program.
Using images taken of the sky in the night with the 24" and 32" telescopes at the Astronomical Research Institute (ARI) Observatory, USA, this program gives students a chance to sift through data with specialized software to make original discoveries of Main Belt asteroids and important observations that contribute to the NASA Near-Earth Object (NEO) Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
P/2010 A2 (LINEAR) was designated an MBC but, within a month of being discovered, Hubble Space Telescope images suggested that its tail was generated by dusty gravel-not icy comet-stuff--and that it was the result of a head-on smashup between Main Belt asteroids.
Now the ages derived from meteorite samples have been used to study the collisional history of main belt asteroids.
These considerations do open up the possibility that some dormant comets are masquerading as 'ordinary' main belt asteroids located towards the outer edge of the Main Belt.
While travelling to the comet Rosetta has performed two fly-bys at main belt asteroids with the scientific objective of providing a global characterization of these asteroids, including the determination of their dynamic properties, surface morphology and composition.