Is the Asteroid Belt in the same plane as Earth and Jupiter or they are in different planes?


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This question is similar to: Do the planets, asteroid belt, kuiper belt, and scattered disk lie on the same plane?

Earth is on the ecliptic plane, Jupiter is 1.305° inclined relative to the ecliptic, so not quite coplanar but pretty close.

The asteroid belt, being made up of a diverse set of rocks, is all over the place (from here):

Asteroid inclination

The description of that image:

The orbital inclination histogram [above], which is binned in intervals of 0.1°, shows that asteroids are another exception to this rule. The average orbital inclination is about 8.2°.

Between planets (especially Jupiter) perturbing orbits of asteroids and asteroids occasionally hitting each other and breaking apart the asteroid belt isn't stable enough to gather into a planet or even a single plane or type of orbit. To present the orbits differently, this image from Wikipedia shows the grouping of asteroids in similar orbits:

Asteroid proper elements, inclination vs eccentricity


and the subscript $p$ stands for proper orbital elements (a kind of average over time) which are distinct from current or osculating orbital elements. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_family#Description

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    $\begingroup$ Using your first diagram as a guideline, a vast majority of the asteroids are within 15 degrees, which isn't nearly as planar as the 8 planets, but it's still much more planar than random. Minute physics has a good video that's loosely related: youtube.com/watch?v=tmNXKqeUtJM $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Jul 16, 2015 at 7:54

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