A partial ring or disk of hot, young stars, of types O
and B, and star-forming molecular clouds,
within which the Sun lies (approximately 40 light-years (12 parsecs) north
of the Belt's equatorial plane and about 325 light-years (100 parsecs) from
its center). The Gould Belt has a diameter of about 3,000 light-years and
is inclined to the galactic plane at about
20°. It appears to be a spur connected to the lower edge of the Orion
Arm of the Galaxy. Among its most prominent components are the bright
stars in Orion, Canis Major, Puppis, Carina, Centaurus, and Scorpius, including
the Scorpius-Centaurus Association.
It is thought to be 30 to 50 million years old but its origin is unclear.
It is named after Stephen Gould, who established its existence in 1879.
| A schematic of the Gould Belt. Credit:
Joint Astronomy Center
AND STAR CLUSTERS
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