Kuiper Belt

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SciShow Space (YouTube Playlists)


Kuiper belt is a circumstellar disc in the outer Solar System, extending from the orbit of Neptune at 30 astronomical units (AU) to approximately 50 AU from the Sun. It is similar to the asteroid belt, but is far larger—20 times as wide and 20–200 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 most of the objects that astronomers generally accept as dwarf planets. Some of the Solar System’s moons, such as Neptune’s Triton and Saturn’s Phoebe, may have originated in the region. — Wikipedia

Kuiper Belt (Encyclopædia Britannica)

Kuiper Belt (Wolfram Alpha)




NASA 360 (YouTube Channel)

Kuiper Belt (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA)

486958 Arrokoth (provisional designation 2014 MU69) is a trans-Neptunian object located in the Kuiper belt. Arrokoth became the farthest and most primitive object in the Solar System visited by a spacecraft when the NASA space probe New Horizons conducted a flyby on 1 January 2019. Arrokoth is a contact binary 36 km (22 mi) long, composed of two planetesimals 21 km (13 mi) and 15 km (9 mi) across, that are joined along their major axes. With an orbital period of about 298 years and a low orbital inclination and eccentricity, Arrokoth is classified as a cold classical Kuiper belt object. Before its permanent name was announced, the object had previously been nicknamed Ultima Thule and Snowman. — Wikipedia

New Ultima Thule Discoveries from NASA’s New Horizons (New Horizons, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory)
A Prehistoric Puzzle in the Kuiper Belt (NASA)
NASA’s New Horizons Team Publishes First Kuiper Belt Flyby Science Results (NASA Science)
Initial Results from the New Horizons Exploration of 2014 MU69, a Small Kuiper Belt Object (S. A. Stern, et al., Science)


New Horizons is a space probe that was part of NASA’s New Frontiers program. Engineered by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), with a team led by Alan Stern, the spacecraft was launched in 2006 with the primary mission to perform a flyby study of the Pluto system in 2015, and a secondary mission to fly by and study one or more other Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) in the decade to follow, which became a mission to 486958 Arrokoth. It is the fifth space probe to achieve the escape velocity needed to leave the Solar System. — Wikipedia

NASA DeepSpace (YouTube Channel)

New Horizons Mission (NASA)
New Horizons: NASA’s Mission (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory)
New Horizons Mission (Planetary Society)
New Horizons (Wikipedia)




In 1951, in a paper in Astrophysics: A Topical Symposium, Gerard Kuiper speculated on a similar disc having formed early in the Solar System’s evolution. — Wikipedia

Gerard Kuiper and Trans-Neptunian Comet Belt (American Museum of Natural History)
Gerard Kuiper (NASA)
Gerard Peter Kuiper (Encyclopædia Britannica)
Gerard Kuiper (Wikipedia)


Library of Congress # QB701 Kuiper Belt (UPenn Online Books)

WorldCat, Library of Congress, UPenn Online Books, Open Library




What is the Kuiper Belt? (Space Place, NASA)
Kuiper Belt (Cosmos4Kids)

MERLOT: Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching
OER Commons: Open Educational Resources



International Astronomical Union (IAU)
Minor Planet Center (International Astronomical Union)


Kuiper Belt (Astronomy Magazine)
Kuiper Belt (Phys.org)
Kuiper Belt (Science Daily)
Kuiper Belt (NPR Archives)



Kuiper Belt (USA.gov)



Celebrating the whole 12-year journey of New Horizons probe. This is Brian May’s personal tribute to the ongoing NASA New Horizons mission, which on New Year’s Day, 2019, achieved the most distant spacecraft flyby in history. — NASA YouTube

Queen Guitarist (And Astrophysicist) Brian May On His Work With NASA and His New Song About Ultima Thule (Jeffrey Kluger, Time)
Hear Queen Guitarist Brian May’s New Anthem to Space Travel (Kory Grow, Rolling Stone)
The Grand Ultima Thule Flyby! (Brian May)

May also created a 3D stereoscopic image of Ultima Thule.

Scientists show off space snowman, Ultima Thule, in 3D (Marcia Dunn, Associated Press)

Brian May (Official Site)
Brian May (Wikipedia)



Here are links to pages about closely related subjects.

Knowledge Realm


Law (Constant) Relativity
Force Gravity, Electromagnetism (Light, Color)
Matter (Microscope) Molecule, Atom (Periodic Table), Particle

Universe (Astronomical Instrument)
Galaxy Milky Way, Andromeda
Planetary System Star, Brown Dwarf, Planet, Moon

Our Neighborhood
Solar System Sun
Terrestrial Planet Mercury, Venus, Earth (Moon), Mars
Asteroid Belt Ceres, Vesta
Jovian Planet Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Trans-Neptunian Object
Kuiper Belt Pluto, Haumea, Makemake
Scattered Disc Eris, Sedna, Planet X
Oort Cloud Etc. Scholz’s Star
Small Body Comet, Centaur, Asteroid


1.   The resources on this page are are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma.