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The “asteroid belt” - so is called the region of the Solar System situated approximately between the orbits of the planets Jupiter and Mars. The “belt” is occupied by numerous irregularly shaped asteroidal bodies named asteroids or minor planets.
The asteroid belt is also called the “main asteroid belt” or “main belt” and distinguishes its members from other asteroids from the Solar System such as near-Earth asteroids and so-called Trojan asteroids.
Approximately half the mass of the Asteroid belt is consisted from the four largest asteroids: Vesta, Pallas, Hygiea and Ceres. Three of them, Vesta, Pallas, and Hygiea have average diameters of more than 400 km, whereas the fourth, Ceres, could be named the “dwarf planet”, because it has in diameter about 950 km. But it is not a planet, but only giant stone floating between planets in the space.
The remaining bodies of the belt have much smaller size and they range down till dust particles. The material of asteroids is so thinly distributed that many automatic spacecrafts have crossed it without any incident. In spite of that, collisions between large asteroids do occur, and these can form asteroid families whose participants have similar orbital features and composition. Individual asteroids inside the Asteroid belt are analyzed by their spectra, and most of them were grouped in three basic clusters: carbonaceous, silicate and metal-rich.
The Asteroid belt was born from the original solar nebula as a group of stones, the smaller predecessor of the planets, which in turn formed so-called protoplanets. However, gravitational perturbations from Jupiter saturated the protoplanets with too much orbital energy for them to knit into a planet. By the time, collisions became too intense, and instead of growing together, 99.9% of the asteroid belt's original mass was lost in the first 100 million years of the Solar System's existence. Many parts can eventually find their way into the inner Solar System, leading to meteorite impacts with other bigger planets.
Asteroid orbits continue to be considerably perturbed every time of their period of revolution about the Sun that forms an orbital resonance with Jupiter. Another small Solar System bodies in other regions include the Centaurs, Kuiper belt and scattered disk objects, and Oort cloud comets.