Gould's Belt

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Benjamin Apthorp Gould (1824—1896)


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A band of hot, bright stars (types O and B) forming a circle around the sky. It represents a local structure of young stars and interstellar material tilted at about 16° to the galactic plane. Among the most prominent components of the belt are the bright stars in Orion, Canis Major, Puppis, Carina, Centaurus, and Scorpius, including the Sco–Cen Association. The belt has a diameter of about 3000 l.y. (about one-tenth the radius of the Galaxy), and the Sun lies within it. Viewed from Earth, Gould's Belt projects below the plane of our Galaxy from the lower edge of the Orion Arm, and above the plane in the opposite direction. The belt is estimated to be about 50 million years old, but its origin is unknown. It is named after B. A. Gould, who established its existence in 1879.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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