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Asteroid belt.

Asteroid belt.
3 4 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 26cm


This artist's concept shows a massive asteroid belt in orbit around a star the same age and size as our Sun. The belt circles a faint, nearby star called HD 69830, located 41 light-years away in the constellation Puppis. Evidence for this possible belt was discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope when it spotted warm dust around the star, presumably from asteroids smashing together. Compared to our own solar system's asteroid belt, this one is larger and closer to its star - it is 25 times as massive, and lies just inside an orbit equivalent to that of Venus.

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© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society

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