Kuiper Belt

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Solar System Exploration: Kuiper belt (NASA)

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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.

  • Team studies binaries to make heads or tails of...
    on June 25, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    A team studied the orientation of distant solar system bodies to bolster the 'streaming instability' theory of planet formation. […]

  • How icy outer solar system satellites may have...
    on June 25, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    Beyond the orbit of the planet Neptune, there are a multitude of icy and rocky small bodies, smaller than planets but larger than comets. These likely formed at the same time as the Solar System, and understanding their origin could provide important clues as to how the entire Solar System originated. Using sophisticated computer simulations and observations of TNOs, astronomers have shown how these so-called trans-Neptunian Objects (or TNOs) may have formed. […]

  • Gas insulation could be protecting an ocean...
    on May 20, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    Computer simulations provide compelling evidence that an insulating layer of gas hydrates could keep a subsurface ocean from freezing beneath Pluto's icy exterior. […]

  • Crater counts on Pluto, Charon show small Kuiper...
    on February 28, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Using New Horizons data from the Pluto-Charon flyby in 2015, scientists have indirectly discovered a distinct and surprising lack of very small objects in the Kuiper Belt. The evidence for the paucity of small Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) comes from New Horizons imaging that revealed a dearth of small craters on Pluto's largest satellite, Charon, indicating that impactors from 300 feet to 1 mile (91 meters to 1.6 km) in diameter must also be rare. […]

  • New arguments in favor of a ninth planet in our...
    on February 27, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    Researchers are offering new details about the suspected nature and location of a ninth planet in the solar system. […]


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.

  • Research team studies binaries to make heads or...
    on June 25, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    A Southwest Research Institute-led team studied the orientation of distant solar system bodies to bolster the "streaming instability" theory of planet formation. […]

  • Ion beams and atom smashers: secrets of moon rocks
    on June 19, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Moon samples collected by the Apollo astronauts a half-century ago hold answers to questions that weren't even on scientists' minds at the time, as new technological tools provide insight into some of the oldest mysteries about the moon, the earth and the solar system. […]

  • Laboratory's solar system legacy
    on June 6, 2019 at 11:00 am

    When the first humans stepped onto the moon a half-century ago on July 20, 1969, they knew they were venturing into the unknown. Some had feared their lander would be swallowed up by bottomless layers of dust as almost nothing was known about the moon surface at the time. But they knew it wouldn't, thanks in large part to groundbreaking research being performed at the University of Arizona's then fledging Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. […]

  • Ammonia detected on the surface of Pluto, hints...
    on May 30, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.S. and one in France has found evidence of ammonia on the surface of Pluto. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their finding and what it might have revealed about the dwarf planet. […]

  • Stolen comets and free-floating objects
    on May 28, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Our solar system may contain alien comets that were stolen from another star flying past 4.5 billion years ago. Far away in a distant cluster of young stars, a similar close encounter might have also sent the inter-stellar visitor "Oumuamua" flying on its way toward us, and there must be many more of these free-floating objects in the galaxy. These are results of a new study by astrophysicists at the University of Zurich. […]