Do you know about the asteroid belt? It was first discovered in the year 1801. Most of the astronomers knew about moons and planets but this was a new concept for them. You may have seen them in spaceship movies as the asteroid belt smashes the spacecrafts. Almost every planet in our solar system has been smashed by the asteroid belt. Today, we are going to tell you about the asteroid belt. What are they? It is a disc in the solar system which is located between orbits of Jupiter and Mars. You will find irregular shaped bodies in the orbits which are called asteroids. It looks like they are forming a belt. They are also called planetoids.
How was it formed? There have been theories about their formation. Some astronomers say when our universe was formed and planets were made, a tenth planet was trying to come between Mars and Jupiter. However, it was not successful and the bits and pieces of the tenth planet remained. It was because Jupiter had such a strong gravitational force that the 10th planet could not be formed. It was too chaotic and it never got a chance to form.
Did you know that the asteroid belt could be the cause of extinction of dinosaurs? It has been many years since the dinosaurs got extinct. Asteroids are made of rocks and metals and many unmanned spacecrafts have landed on the asteroids.
Giuseppe Piazzi was the one, who discovered the asteroid belt. He was an astronomer as well as an Italian Priest. He discovered Ceres, the largest asteroid. It was between Mars and Jupiter. Ceres is considered to be a dwarf planet. It is the largest object in the asteroid belt between the planets Mars and Jupiter.
It is such a big object that scientists started calling it a dwarf planet. It has a radius of 476 kilometres. Scientists say that it started to become a planet but it did not finish. Since Jupiter has a strong gravity, it did not let Ceres to become a full-fledged planet. If Jupiter did not have such a gravitational pull, we would have another planet. What if it had life on it? Well, it is too late for that because Ceres is just an asteroid, which is big in size. Do you know that Ceres has more percentage of water than Earth? It could be another planet for humans to live on but it remains to be a dwarf planet. The asteroid does not have any moon but it has the most important ingredient for life – water. Scientists are still studying the dwarf planet and it is possible that there may be signs of life on the dwarf planet. What if there is alien life present on Ceres? The Universe is full of secrets waiting to be discovered. We are sure that scientists will be able to gather more information regarding life on Ceres.
Here is a video to show you the images of Ceres.