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|The Asteroid Belt|
|The dwarf planet called Ceres orbits the Sun in the asteroid belt.|
An asteroid is a bit of rock. It can be thought of as what was "left
over" after the Sun and all the planets were formed. Most of the asteroids
in our solar system can be found orbiting the Sun between the orbits of Mars
and Jupiter. This area is sometimes called the "asteroid belt". Think
about it this way: the asteroid belt is a big highway in a circle around the
Sun. Think about the asteroids as cars on the highway. Sometimes, the asteroid
cars run into one another. When this happens, the asteroids may break up
into smaller asteroids. Scientists think that most asteroids are the result
between larger rocky space bodies.
Asteroids can be a few feet to several hundred miles wide. The belt probably contains at least 40,000 asteroids that are more than 0.5 miles across.
If an asteroid is captured by the gravitational pull of a planet, the asteroid can be pulled out of the belt and go into orbit as a moon around the planet that pulled on it.
Between what two planets will you find the asteroid belt?
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