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Phaeton is the hypothetical planet posited to have existed between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter whose destruction supposedly led to the formation of the asteroid belt. Possible explanations below

  • it veered too close to Jupiter and was torn apart by its powerful gravity
  • it was struck by another large celestial body
  • it was destroyed by a hypothetical brown dwarf, the companion star to the Sun known as Nemesis
  • it was shattered by some internal catastrophe

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