Kuiper Belt

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Introduction1

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

Encyclopædia Britannica

Portal

Solar System Exploration: Kuiper belt (NASA)

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Innovation

Science

New Horizons: Exploring Pluto and Beyond (Elizabeth Howell, Space.com)
New Horizons Mission (NASA)
New Horizions (Wikipedia)
Planetary Science (NASA/JPL)

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Preservation

History

Library

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

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Participation

Education

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

Course

OER Commons: Open Educational Resources

Community

Organization

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

News

ScienceDaily, Phys.org, NPR Archives

Book

ISBNdb

Government

Document

USA.gov

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More News …

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.

  • Mystery behind formation of surface ice-shapes on...
    on December 15, 2021 at 6:26 pm

    Scientists have unraveled a fascinating new insight into how the landscape of the dwarf-planet Pluto has formed.

  • Where were Jupiter and Saturn born?
    on October 29, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    New work reveals the likely original locations of Saturn and Jupiter. These findings refine our understanding of the forces that determined our Solar System's unusual architecture, including the ejection of an additional planet between Saturn and Uranus, ensuring that only small, rocky planets, like Earth, formed inward of Jupiter.

  • The mountains of Pluto are snowcapped, but not...
    on October 13, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    In 2015, the New Horizons space probe discovered spectacular snowcapped mountains on Pluto, which are strikingly similar to mountains on Earth. Such a landscape had never before been observed elsewhere in the Solar System. Scientists determined that the methane snow could only appear at the peaks of Pluto's mountains high enough to reach this enriched zone that the air contains enough methane for it to condense.

  • Evidence supports 'hot start' scenario and early...
    on June 22, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    A new study suggests that Pluto and other large Kuiper belt objects started out with liquid oceans which have been slowly freezing over time.

  • Pluto's icy heart makes winds blow
    on February 4, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    A 'beating heart' of frozen nitrogen controls Pluto's winds and may give rise to features on its surface, according to a new study.


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.

  • Webb telescope nearly set to explore the solar...
    on May 20, 2022 at 5:51 am

    As NASA's James Webb Space Telescope moves through the final phases of commissioning its science instruments, we have also begun working on technical operations of the observatory. While the telescope moves through space, it will constantly find distant stars and galaxies and point at them with extreme precision to acquire images and spectra. However, we also plan to observe planets and their satellites, asteroids, and comets in our solar system, which move across the background stars of our […]

  • Ceres probably formed farther out in the solar...
    on May 19, 2022 at 2:55 pm

    When Sicilian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi spotted Ceres in 1801, he thought it was a planet. Astronomers didn't know about asteroids at that time. Now we know there's an enormous quantity of them, primarily residing in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

  • Extraterrestrial stone brings first supernova...
    on May 16, 2022 at 2:48 pm

    New chemistry "forensics" indicate that the stone named Hypatia from the Egyptian desert could be the first tangible evidence found on Earth of a supernova type Ia explosion. These rare supernovas are some of the most energetic events in the universe.

  • These are the best places to search for habitable...
    on May 12, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    Our solar system contains eight planets and more than 200 moons. The large majority of those moons have no chance of being habitable, but some of them—Europa and Enceladus, for example—are strong candidates in the search for life.

  • NASA extends exploration for 8 planetary science...
    on April 26, 2022 at 1:28 pm

    Following a thorough evaluation, NASA has extended the planetary science missions of eight of its spacecraft due to their scientific productivity and potential to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the solar system and beyond.

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Related

Here are links to pages about closely related subjects.

Knowledge Realm

Physical

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

“Space”
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

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Notes

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