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CosmosUp | August 15, 2022

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How Did The Asteroid Belt Form? Was There A Planet There?

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How Did The Asteroid Belt Form? Was There A Planet There?

When planets are destroyed they form an asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter there is an asteroid belt… was there a secret planet there?

Do you think that our asteroid belt was a planet once. And if it was, how big was it? The Asteroid Belt, which strangely doesn’t have a name, it’s just called “The Asteroid Belt” or “Main Asteroid Belt,” sits between 2 and 4 astronomical units from the Sun past Mars and before Jupiter.

It’s comprised of millions of space rocks ranging in size from small pebbles to the largest known asteroid Ceres; which is 600 miles in diameter. So was there a planet there?! From what we know of the birth of our solar system, no… there never was, but ALMOST.

Gravity is the support structure for the formation of celestial bodies. Gravity pulls material together so it can form stars, moons, planets, galaxies… Too little or too much and they won’t form; and that area between Mars and Jupiter is the latter. Too much gravitational interference caused it to become a bunch of rocks instead of a pretty little planet. Physics dictates how far away those bodies have to be from each other to maintain stable orbits.

This was discovered in the late 18th century by J.E. Bode, and is called the Titus-Bode Law. Essentially, each planet’s orbital period, is equal to the period of the sun’s rotation and distance of the furthest reaches of their orbit.

According to this mathematical equation, there SHOULD be a planet in between Mars and Jupiter, and a planet TRIED to form but Jupiter’s massive gravity tore it asunder. It just couldn’t do it. Of course, we know that NOW, but from the 18th and into the 19th century, people believed they simply hadn’t spotted the elusive planet yet.

And then in 1801, Giuseppe Piazzi discovered Ceres! He believed Ceres might be a comet, but it didn’t have a ‘coma’ the gas and dust that surrounds a comet. A bit over a year later, a German named Heinrich Olbers discovered another small object on the same orbit he called 2 Pallas.

Eventually, as more of these were discovered astronomers knew there was no planet in this fifth orbit, but instead… what they called asteroids. Despite what conspiracy theorists may say on the internet; these billions of little asteroids never formed into a planet.

Instead, the gravitational forces of our solar system kept it as bit of rock and dust. But, since Shawn Pitts wanted to know how large a PLANET would be if it DID happen to form, I figured we could give a guess.

Today, Ceres, comprises one-third of the mass of the whole asteroid belt. If you were to glomp the mass of the whole belt onto Ceres, you’d STILL have less mass than our moon does — Our moon would still be 26-times more massive than this super-Ceres. More like super tiny.


  1. Adolfo Domínguez

    It is a very interesting article as yours are always. But is there a way to put the letter bigger?- Thanks.

    • Baid Own

      Yes, of course you can… just click on the “increase text size” button. The A+ | A- buttons above the featured image (the image in the article) will do that. A+ for increasing text size and the A- for decrease.

  2. John

    Editors… such a cromulent thing to put in a bibliography. I’ll just scrub the things from my paper rather than deal with that.

  3. Jeff Mints

    I am still unsatisfied with the “gravitational disruption” explanation. Our solar system could only have formed from gas and dust that condensed from gas, as only this form of matter was spread in space by supernovae.

    Only gravity could compact the gas or dust, and the form would always be spherical, or slightly “oblate-spherical” from rotation, as is the Earth.

    Objects of irregular shape could not form in this manner, whatever the matter available. They could only be products of collision, and except in very rare cases, a collision would mean fragmenting into smaller units rather accretion (like two blobs of soft clay colliding and sticking).

    Gas and dust accretes through gravity only to spherical form. Thus irregularly shaped asteroids must have once been part of a larger object that solidified, and so allowed fragments to retain irregular shape after collision and separation.

    Why not a smaller planet? Is it so certain that Jupiter was fully formed with present gravity before all smaller planets? Much of Jupiter and Saturn are solid and liquid gases by their distance from the sun, which would have prevented this for planets as close as Mars.

    How could some of the meteorites that are found on Earth be such a consistent proportion of Nickel and Iron, unless they were once the semi-liquid center of a large object with gravity sufficient to produce intense compression? There are other meteorites that may have come from the “edge” of a nickel-iron core. How to explain them?

    The older theory, that a fully formed planet existed and was fragmented by some unknown impact seems not yet adequately disposed of. Do any professional astronomers still accept it?

  4. Victoria

    How do asteroid belts form??

  5. victore halls

    According to the cuneform tablets found which tell a different stoty of the bely and that is that it is,part of Tiamat or earth when ome of planet x or nibiru moons crashed or collided with earth long ago.

  6. John Paul

    In the classical theory of Jupiter migration into the inner solar system, the asteroid belt theory collapses (into asteroids I guess). The whole mass of the asteroid belt when added to Ceres is rather disappointingly small. But I can still imagine a war between the Ceres+asteroid planet combined with Mars set against ancient pre-human Earthlings along the lines of the Mahabharata. If you can make sense of this theory you should be a linguistics magister.

  7. Jay

    The modern theory I believe explains why the current remnants of the asteroid belt do not form into a planet saying it would be so small. This is taking a current snapshot and extrapolating into the past. I believe the older theory mentioned by Jeff Mints is more satisfactory, that a planet existed and some unknown force blasted it. The original mass would obviously have been greater than the current asteroid belt total mass – much of the debris would have been absorbed by Jupiter and Mars and others.

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