Kuiper Belt

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New Horizons: Exploring Pluto and Beyond (Elizabeth Howell, Space.com)
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Solar System Exploration: Kuiper belt (NASA)

Encyclopedia

Kuiper belt , occasionally called the Edgeworth–Kuiper belt, is a circumstellar disc in the outer Solar System, extending from the orbit of Neptune (at 30 AU) to approximately 50 AU from the Sun. It is similar to the asteroid belt, but is far larger—20 times as wide and 20 to 200 times as massive.

Like the asteroid belt, it consists mainly of small bodies or remnants from when the Solar System formed. While many asteroids are composed primarily of rock and metal, most Kuiper belt objects are composed largely of frozen volatiles (termed “ices”), such as methane, ammonia and water. The Kuiper belt is home to three officially recognized dwarf planets: Pluto, Haumea and Makemake. Some of the Solar System’s moons, such as Neptune’s Triton and Saturn’s Phoebe, may have originated in the region.

The Kuiper belt was named after Dutch-American astronomer Gerard Kuiper, though he did not predict its existence. In 1992, Albion was discovered, the first Kuiper belt object (KBO) since Pluto and Charon. Since its discovery, the number of known KBOs has increased to over a thousand, and more than 100,000 KBOs over 100 km (62 mi) in diameter are thought to exist. — Wikipedia

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Kuiper Belt News -- ScienceDaily Read science articles on the Kuiper Belt, including the latest news on Pluto, Eris, Sedna, Quaoar and other Kuiper Belt objects.


Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories Phys.org internet news portal provides the latest news on science including: Physics, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences, Space Science, Earth Science, Environment, Health and Medicine.

  • Scientists find evidence for early planetary...
    on September 10, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    Scientists at Southwest Research Institute studied an unusual pair of asteroids and discovered that their existence points to an early planetary rearrangement in our solar system. […]

  • New research suggest Pluto should be reclassified...
    on September 7, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    The reason Pluto lost its planet status is not valid, according to new research from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. […]

  • New Horizons makes first detection of Kuiper Belt...
    on August 29, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has made its first detection of its next flyby target, the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule, more than four months ahead of its New Year's 2019 close encounter. […]

  • The 'Gloo' behind James Webb Space Telescopes...
    on August 22, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    It takes a team of talented individuals working in unison to brainstorm, build and deliver what will become the world's most powerful space telescope. Marcelino Sansebastian is a Senior Instrument Technician at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland who has been deeply involved with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope since the project began. Known for his passion, skillset and unique nickname 'Gloo', Sansebastian has had his hand in helping design and invent a long list of […]

  • Oort clouds around other stars should be visible...
    on August 16, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    For decades, scientists have theorized that beyond the edge of the solar system, at a distance of up to 50,000 AU (0.79 ly) from the sun, there lies a massive cloud of icy planetesimals known as the Oort Cloud. Named in honor of Dutch astronomer Jan Oort, this cloud is believed to be where long-term comets originate from. However, to date, no direct evidence has been provided to confirm the Oort Cloud's existence. […]