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.

  • Studying Pluto orbiter mission
    on October 24, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    Astronomers have made several discoveries that expand the range and value of a future Pluto orbiter mission. The breakthroughs define a fuel-saving orbital tour and demonstrate that an orbiter can continue exploration in the Kuiper Belt after surveying Pluto. […]

  • Astronomers find first compelling evidence for a...
    on October 3, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    On the hunt for distant worlds, researchers have identified an exomoon candidate around the transiting exoplanet Kepler-1625b that indicates the presence of a previously unknown gas-giant moon. […]

  • New extremely distant solar system object found...
    on October 2, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Astronomers have discovered a new extremely distant object far beyond Pluto with an orbit that supports the presence of an even-farther-out, Super-Earth or larger Planet X. […]

  • Pluto should be reclassified as a planet, experts...
    on September 7, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    The reason Pluto lost its planet status is not valid, according to new research. […]

  • Astronomers assemble 'light-fingerprints' to...
    on July 31, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Earthbound detectives rely on fingerprints to solve their cases; now astronomers can do the same, using 'light-fingerprints' instead of skin grooves to uncover the mysteries of exoplanets. […]


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.

  • The water in Saturn's rings and satellites is...
    on December 3, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    By developing a new method for measuring isotopic ratios of water and carbon dioxide remotely, scientists have found that the water in Saturn's rings and satellites is unexpectedly like water on the Earth, except on Saturn's moon Phoebe, where the water is more unusual than on any other object so far studied in the Solar System. […]

  • Charting a course for astronaut safety as NASA...
    on December 3, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    In the next decade, NASA aims to launch humankind toward the moon and on to Mars—a monumental step in crewed space travel. Such a journey is filled with challenges and perils, not unlike those faced by the first explorers to cross the ocean. However, instead of stormy seas, these explorers will set sail amid the hazards of the heliosphere—the magnetic environment emanating out from the sun and encompassing the solar system. The risks of travelling through this realm ultimately ride […]

  • NASA's Lucy in the sky with … asteroids?
    on November 22, 2018 at 11:56 am

    A little over 4 billion years ago, the planets in our solar system coexisted with vast numbers of small rocky or icy objects orbiting the Sun. These were the last remnants of the planetesimals – the primitive building blocks that formed the planets. Most of these leftover objects were then lost, as shifts in the orbits of the giant planets scattered them to the distant outer reaches of the solar system or beyond. But some were captured in two less-distant regions, near points where the […]

  • Odd bodies, rapid spins keep cosmic rings close
    on November 19, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Forget those shepherding moons. Gravity and the odd shapes of asteroid Chariklo and dwarf planet Haumea—small objects deep in our solar system—can be credited for forming and maintaining their own rings, according new research in Nature Astronomy. […]

  • Aboard the first spacecraft to the trojan...
    on November 12, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Ralph, one of NASA's most well-traveled space explorers, has voyaged far and accomplished much: on the New Horizons mission, Ralph obtained stunning flyby images of Jupiter and its moons; this was followed by a visit to Pluto where Ralph took the first high-definition pictures of the iconic minor planet. And, in 2021, Ralph journeys with the Lucy mission to Jupiter's Trojan asteroids. […]