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Is it possible for an asteroid belt to form around a sun? Think of our asteroid belt, but instead of where it is now, it would be where Mercury is.

Also, and I didn't have enough room to put this in the title, but what effect would this have on the solar system? How would this affect eclipses, astronomy, etc.?

Please note the asteroid belt is in a stable orbit around the sun.

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  • $\begingroup$ radiation pressure from our Sun would have already sweep out most of the dust so that there isnt enough time to grow into "asteroid belt". $\endgroup$ – user6760 Aug 25 '17 at 3:33
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    $\begingroup$ The second part of your question (about eclipses, astronomy, etc) is pretty broad. I recommend focusing this question on whether it's possible and how it would develop if so, and then asking followup questions as needed. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Aug 25 '17 at 3:42
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    $\begingroup$ Actually our asteroid belt is also around the sun. As is the Kuiper belt. $\endgroup$ – ths Aug 25 '17 at 9:20
  • $\begingroup$ Asteroid belts/rings are a fairly unstable structure. Usually, all that mass tends to collect together into a planetoid if it's left to its own devices. If the mass is within the roche limit it won't form a planet but that close to a star the stuff would probably boil away pretty quickly. A tried and true asteroid belt method is what we have in the Solar system, where the mass is being stirred by Jupiter, which keeps the rocks from forming a planet. $\endgroup$ – MozerShmozer Aug 25 '17 at 22:07
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Anywhere a planet can orbit with stability, an asteroid belt can orbit with stability.

Depending on the orbital inclination, the effect would vary from drawing a line across the sun to having a thin "halo" around some or all of the sun (not that I've ever heard of an incination of 90 degrees, but that doesn't mean it's not possible. That effect would change as your planet orbits around the star.

You might want to research how we see Saturn's rings as the two orbits move, the effect would be similar.

As for eclipses, the "halo" (if it exists due to inclination) would be more pronounced. Like looking at a dude with an old "arrow through his head" gag but the face is blacked out.

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  • $\begingroup$ Just thinking about this, as other planets rotate around the sun, it would pull the asteroid belt with it, deforming it slightly as the gravitational pull from each body had its way on it. I'm sure this must happen with our asteroid belt, I just hadn't thought of it like that before. I'd bet our belt gets all bent out of shape and is nowhere near a circle around the sun, but rather has bumps and bruises all over the place ... a very interesting thought to me! $\endgroup$ – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Aug 25 '17 at 0:56
  • $\begingroup$ The total mass of our belt is something like our moon, I'm not sure it would be visible. @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 our belt is almost a triangle if you include the ones co-orbiting with Jupiter. $\endgroup$ – user25818 Aug 25 '17 at 2:12
  • $\begingroup$ In fact, the mass of our current belt is but 4% of the mass of our moon. Citation. However, that doesn't mean the OP's fictional belt can't be bigger. $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 25 '17 at 3:59
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH If the belt is too massive, it will form a new planet from it's own gravitational influences. $\endgroup$ – A. C. A. C. Aug 25 '17 at 22:22
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The thing you are talking about here are Vulcanoids. They are theoretically possible but none have yet been discovered.

The fact that astronomers continue to look for evidence perhaps give us some idea of just how little effect they have on the solar system.

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