Kuiper Belt

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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.

  • Missing-link in planet evolution found
    on January 28, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    For the first time ever, astronomers have detected a 1.3 km radius body at the edge of the Solar System. Kilometer sized bodies like the one discovered have been predicted to exist for more than 70 years. These objects acted as an important step in the planet formation process between small initial amalgamations of dust and ice and the planets we see today. […]

  • Mystery orbits in outermost reaches of solar...
    on January 21, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    The strange orbits of some objects in the farthest reaches of our solar system, hypothesized by some astronomers to be shaped by an unknown ninth planet, can instead be explained by the combined gravitational force of small objects orbiting the sun beyond Neptune, say researchers. […]

  • New Ultima Thule discoveries from NASA's New...
    on January 3, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Data from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which explored Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule earlier this week, is yielding scientific discoveries daily. […]

  • New Horizons successfully explores Ultima Thule
    on January 1, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flew past Ultima Thule in the early hours of New Year's Day, ushering in the era of exploration from the enigmatic Kuiper Belt, a region of primordial objects that holds keys to understanding the origins of the solar system. […]

  • New Horizons spacecraft homing in on Kuiper Belt...
    on December 31, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Only hours from completing a historic flyby of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, nicknamed Ultima Thule, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is on course and ready to gather scientific data on the small object's geology, composition, atmosphere and more. Closest approach takes place in the early morning hours of New Year's Day -- 12:33 a.m. EST -- marking the event as the most distant exploration of worlds ever completed by humankind. […]


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.

  • New Horizons' evocative farewell glance at Ultima...
    on February 9, 2019 at 9:56 am

    An evocative new image sequence from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft offers a departing view of the Kuiper Belt object (KBO) nicknamed Ultima Thule—the target of its New Year's 2019 flyby and the most distant world ever explored. […]

  • Missing-link in planet evolution found
    on January 28, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    For the first time ever, astronomers have detected a 1.3 km radius body at the edge of the solar system. Kilometer-sized bodies like the one discovered have been predicted to exist for more than 70 years. These objects acted as an important step in the planet formation process between small initial amalgamations of dust and ice and the planets we see today. […]

  • New Horizons' newest and best-yet view of Ultima...
    on January 25, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    The wonders – and mysteries – of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 continue to multiply as NASA's New Horizons spacecraft beams home new images of its New Year's Day 2019 flyby target. […]

  • Mystery orbits in outermost reaches of solar...
    on January 21, 2019 at 9:40 am

    The strange orbits of some objects in the farthest reaches of our solar system, hypothesised by some astronomers to be shaped by an unknown ninth planet, can instead be explained by the combined gravitational force of small objects orbiting the Sun beyond Neptune, say researchers. […]

  • Saturn hasn't always had rings
    on January 17, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    One of the last acts of NASA's Cassini spacecraft before its death plunge into Saturn's hydrogen and helium atmosphere was to coast between the planet and its rings and let them tug it around, essentially acting as a gravity probe. […]