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Colony Universe

Alchibah Solar System — Asteroid Belt

by EAB

Into the Belt

Painting by Travis

The Alchibah system asteroid belt has a mean radius of 470 million miles. It is roughly 300 million miles wide and extends about 6 degrees above and below the plane of the ecliptic. Its density is at least 20 times greater than that of the Solar Systems’ though even this makes it, pretty much, mostly empty space. It is estimated that the Solar System has an amount of material in its’ asteroid belt equal to about that of the Earths’ moon. The Alchibah system belt has a total mass greater than that of the Earth itself. Perhaps the absence of any Mars type planet between Alchibah and the first Gas Giant explains this fact.

We have detected to date, in the belt, at least seven asteroids larger than the 485 mile diameter of Ceres, the largest asteroid in the Solar System. Two are known to be in excess of 1100 miles. Still the average rock, of any size, is separated from its nearest neighbor by 50,000 miles. Though unexplored as yet it is expected the belt will hold a higher percentage of metals and radioactives than what we have been familiar with. We have to date catalogued over 3500 belt objects with many more to find and only the orbital elements of the largest 100 or so have been determined with any precision.

What the Alchibah belt has, that makes it so very spectacular, is a large component of small dust particles and ionized gasses. These debris, are the residue from cometary collisions with the asteroids as the comets plow into the inner system. Some is due to collisions between the asteroids themselves. Out gassing from the Alc4 and Alc5 Gas Giant moons are likely responsible for another large contribution. You can think of it as a system sized florescent bulb. Even as a florescent tube is mostly vacuum with an ionized gas; so is the Alchibah asteroid belt.

A clear night on Alchibah should reveal a glowing band across the heavens, a dozen times brighter than the Milky Way and twice as wide. Not nearly bright enough to read by but impressive none the less.

Ships collision avoidance systems will easily cope with travel through the belt but the amount of small dust and gas particles will limit speeds to perhaps a few thousand miles per second. If faster speeds are necessary a path up and over the belt will have to be plotted.

Posted in A, S |

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