Fascinating Asteroid Belt Facts for Kids
The asteroid belt exists inside the solar system and is where millions of asteroids float throughout space. This asteroid belts spans between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. There are some asteroids that are very small in size, but other can be extremely large. The largest known asteroid is referred to as Ceres and it is about 940 kilometers in diameter. However, some asteroids are so small that they are the size of a speck of dust. The amount of asteroids that make up the asteroid belt are so wide spread that it is hard to fathom their distance.
1. All Asteroids Combined Do Not Equate Size of Earth’s Moon
Asteroids are dust covered rocks that vary in both size and shape. They are believed to actually be debris that was made during the formation of the solar system. There are asteroids that are so large they are called smaller planets. However, if you took all the asteroids that make up the asteroid belt to create one planet it would still be smaller than the earth’s moon. About 12,000 different asteroids have been named so far. Many of them have been named after God’s and one was even named after the cat of the man who discovered it.
2. Types of Asteroids
Not all asteroids in the asteroid belt are classified as the same. The C-type carbon based asteroids are the most common and make up about 75% of all asteroids that are identified. S-type asteroids are much rarer in the asteroid belt and make up just under 20% of all known asteroids. This leaves M-type asteroids that are the most unique and are identified as metallic. They are made of pure nickel or iron and are red. This type of asteroid is primarily found right in the middle portion of the asteroid belt.
3. Craters and the Asteroid Belt
The surface of the moon has felt the effects of the asteroid belt many time. It is actually covered by craters hat were formed due to the force of asteroid impact from the asteroid belt. Many scientist believe that the earth, moon and almost everything else that resides in space has been altered in some way by impact events of asteroids. These collisions results in the two bodies involved developing new orbits that are changed in some way.