The Gould Belt is a partial ring of stars in the Milky Way galaxy, about 3000 light years across, tilted toward the galactic plane by about 16 to 20 degrees. It contains many O- and B-type stars, and may represent the local spiral arm to which the Sun belongs—currently the Sun is about 325 light years from the arm's center. The belt is thought to be from 30 to 50 million years old, and of unknown origin. It is named for Benjamin Gould, who identified it in 1879.
The belt contains bright stars in many constellations including (in order going more or less eastward) Cepheus, Lacerta, Perseus, Orion, Canis Major, Puppis, Vela, Carina, Crux (the Southern Cross), Centaurus, Lupus, and Scorpius (including the Scorpius-Centaurus Association). The Milky Way also passes through most of these constellations, but a bit southeast of Lupus.
A late 2000s theory is that the Gould Belt formed about 30 million years ago when a blob of dark matter collided with the molecular cloud in our region. There is also evidence for similar Gould belts in other galaxies.
See also 
- Gould Belt Survey
- Local Bubble
- Local Interstellar Cloud
- Orion Arm
- Perseus Arm
- The Magnificent Seven (neutron stars)
- Sir Patrick Moore (ed.). Astronomy Encyclopædia (in English) (Revised ed.). Great Britain: Philip's. p. 164.
- "The Gould Belt" (HTML). The GAIA Study Report (in English). Retrieved 2006-07-18.
- "Gould Belt" (HTML). The Encyclopedia of Astrobiology Astronomy and Spaceflight (in English). Retrieved 2006-07-18.
- "Orion's dark secret: Violence shaped the night sky", New Scientist, 21 Nov. 2009, pp. 42–5.
- Bekki, Kenji (2009). "Dark impact and galactic star formation: origin of the Gould belt". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters 398 (1): L36–L40. arXiv:0906.5117. Bibcode:2009MNRAS.398L..36B. doi:10.1111/j.1745-3933.2009.00702.x.
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