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.