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If gravitation (attraction of mass) is the cause of the formation of all celestial bodies then how come the numerous small bodies found in asteroid belts spread over an orbit instead of clustering together ?!

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From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_belt#Formation

Planetesimals within the region which would become the asteroid belt were too strongly perturbed by Jupiter's gravity to form a planet. Instead they continued to orbit the Sun as before, and occasionally colliding.[27] In regions where the average velocity of the collisions was too high, the shattering of planetesimals tended to dominate over accretion,[28] preventing the formation of planet-sized bodies. Orbital resonances occurred where the orbital period of an object in the belt formed an integer fraction of the orbital period of Jupiter, perturbing the object into a different orbit; the region lying between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter contains many such orbital resonances. As Jupiter migrated inward following its formation, these resonances would have swept across the asteroid belt, dynamically exciting the region's population and increasing their velocities relative to each other.[29]

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  • $\begingroup$ If, that's true, then how did the inner planets form in the wake of the sun's gravity. I believe all four lie closer to the sun than the outer edge of the asteroids is close to Jupiter. ? $\endgroup$ – Brian May 18 '16 at 0:36
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    $\begingroup$ Orbiting the sun is different. The sun's gravity helps stabilize orbiting material around it. Jupiter destabilizes material that orbits around the sun but passes too close to Jupiter. (Also, yours is more of a comment than an answer). $\endgroup$ – userLTK May 18 '16 at 5:20

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