asteroid belt n.

the toroidal region of space around a star in which most asteroid orbits occur


  • 1867 J. Ennis Origin of Stars xxxiii. 292

    In view of the dimensions of the rings which formed the planets…, we cannot suppose that a single ring occupied all the space within the asteroid belt.

  • 1877 Manufacturer & Builder Mar. 62/2

    Taking this distance of the sun as a unit, the distances of the inner planets, Mercury and Venus, are 13 and 34 respectively, while the exterior planets, Mars, asteroid belt, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, may be approximately represented by the numbers 1½, 3, 5, 10, 20, and 30.

  • 1931 M. W. Wellman Disc-Men of Jupiter in Wonder Stories Sept. 533/2 page image Manly Wade Wellman bibliography

    If it’s so dangerous, why couldn’t we fly over the asteroid belt?

  • 1931 M. W. Wellman Disc-Men of Jupiter in Wonder Stories Sept. 534/1 page image Manly Wade Wellman bibliography

    The asteroid belt was many millions of miles across, but they hoped to encounter very few of the spinning particles at this time.

  • 1932 C. D. Simak Asteroid of Gold in Wonder Stories Nov. 515/1 page image Clifford D. Simak bibliography

    The two tiny slabs of rock, revolving about each other, made up a part of the asteroid belt, all that remained of a mythical planet between Mars and Jupiter (which must have disrupted into the thousands of tiny fragments many millions of years before).

  • 1950 R. Z. Gallun Step Farther Out in Super Science Stories Mar. page image Raymond Z. Gallun bibliography

    Beyond Mars, both newer and older, lies the asteroid belt—wreckage of a world that exploded, but that was peopled once, too. It is a wonderful, terrible region.

  • 1960 J. Blish …And All the Stars a Stage in Amazing Stories 128/1 page image James Blish bibliography

    None of these bodies are livable. Then comes the asteroid belt, followed by four small dense planets, two of which appear to be inhabitable.

  • 1978 R. Lovell Asteroid Mining in Galileo Sept. 13/1 page image Robert Lovell bibliography

    Astronomers have discovered that about 10% of the asteroids, including many of the larger ones near the inner part of the asteroid belt, are stony-iron types.

  • 1999 M. J. Friedman My Brother’s Keeper iii. ii. 19 Michael Jan Friedman bibliography

    The most remarkable thing we encountered was an asteroid belt.

  • 2001 Locus June 33/2

    Martin Humphries presents rival Dan Randolph a solution…that will also help Earth: build a fusion rocket so it is economically feasible to mine the Asteroid Belt for the energy the Earth needs.

Research requirements

antedating 1867

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1932 cite from Clifford Simak's "The Asteroid of Gold", based on a suggestion from Brian Ameringen.
Cory Panshin submitted a cite from a 1947 reprint of Manly Wade Wellman's "The Disc-Men of Jupiter"; Jeff Prucher verified the cite in the 1931 original magazine appearance.
Bill Mullins submitted a cite from a science news column "Mechanical and Physical Astronomy" in the journal "The Manufacturer and Builder" for March 1877.

Earliest cite in OED2: 1939; OED3 now shows an 1867 example.

Last modified 2021-01-08 11:51:41
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.