Latest Kuiper belt Stories
A piano-sized spacecraft blasted off Thursday on a 3-billion mile journey to study Pluto, the solar system's last unexplored planet, and examine a mysterious zone of icy planetary objects at the outer edges of the planetary system.
These two bright debris disks of ice and dust appear to be the equivalent of our own solar system's Kuiper Belt, a ring of icy rocks outside the orbit of Neptune and the source of short-period comets.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA canceled Wednesday's launch of the U.S. space agency's first probe to Pluto after the mission control headquarters in Maryland lost power, officials said.
In the not-too-distant past, the planet Pluto was thought to be an odd bird in the outer reaches of the solar system because it has a moon, Charon, that was formed much like Earth's own moon was formed. But Pluto is getting a lot of company these days. Of the four largest objects in the Kuiper belt, three have one or more moons.
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA on Tuesday delayed the liftoff of its first probe to Pluto because of high winds and rescheduled the launch for Wednesday, officials at the U.S. space agency said.
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA's first space probe to Pluto, set to lift off on Tuesday, will use radioactive plutonium pellets to power much of its expected nine-year journey to the far reaches of the solar system. The U.S.
Cliff Friedman's name may go far in Dallas real estate circles, but that doesn't come close to the 3 billion-mile trip it will begin in a few weeks.
It will be the fastest spacecraft ever launched, zooming past the moon in nine hours and reaching Jupiter in just over a year at a speed nearly 100 times that of a jetliner. Its target is Pluto - the solar system's last unexplored planet, 3 billion miles from Earth.
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted what may be comet dust sprinkled around the white dwarf star G29-38, which died approximately 500 million years ago. This is the first observational evidence that comets can outlive their suns.
Mercury is boiling. Mars is freezing. The Earth is just right. When it comes to the temperatures of the planets, it makes sense that they should get colder the farther away they are from the Sun. But then there is Pluto.
Planet -- A planet is a body of considerable mass that orbits a star and that doesn't produce energy through nuclear fusion. Until recently, only nine were known (all of them in our own Solar system). As of the end of 2002 over 100 are known, with all of the new discoveries being extrasolar planets. Astronomers often call asteroids minor planets, and call the larger planetary bodies (those which are commonly called planets) major planets. Planets within the solar system can be...
Asteroid -- An asteroid, also called a minor planet or planetoid, is a member of a group of small, planet-like bodies that are part of our solar system. They are believed to be remnants of the interstellar clouds, nebula, that were not incorporated into planets during the formation of the solar system. The largest asteroid in the inner solar system is Ceres with a diameter of 1003 km. It also was the first to be discovered, by Giuseppe Piazzi on January 1, 1801. Nowadays, over 9000...
The Solar System refers to the area in space that is dominated by our own Sun. It is comprised of the Sun and its associated astronomical objects that are held in its gravitational orbit. The Solar System was formed as a result of the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The mass of this system is located almost entirely in the Sun. Apart from the Sun, a high percentage of the remainder of the system’s mass is located in the eight solitary planets that...
Quaoar -- Quaoar ("kwah-oh-ahr", /kwA o Ar/) is a Trans-Neptunian object circling the Sun in the Kuiper belt, discovered in 2002 by astronomers Chad Trujillo and Mike Brown at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. Quaoar is estimated to have a diameter of about 1,280 kilometres, which would make it the largest Solar System object discovered since Pluto and, indeed, the largest known minor planet. Larger than all the asteroids put together, it is about one...
Oort Cloud -- The Oort cloud is a postulated cloud of comets situated about 50,000 to 100,000 AU from the sun. Although no direct observations have been made of such a cloud, it is believed to be the source of most or all comets entering the inner solar system (some short-period comets may come from the Kuiper belt), based on observations of the orbits of comets. The Oort cloud was proposed in 1950 by Dutch astronomer Jan Oort to explain an apparent contradiction: comets are destroyed...
- Emitting flashes of light; glittering.