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Latest Kuiper belt Stories

Solar System Ejected A Giant Planet 600 Million Years Ago
2011-11-11 06:10:42

According to a study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, our solar system may have ejected a giant planet from its orbit and spared the Earth. Experts wrote that Jupiter had helped eject another giant planet from our solar system when it was about 600 million years old. "We have all sorts of clues about the early evolution of the solar system," author Dr. David Nesvorny of the Southwest Research Institute said in a press release. "They come from the analysis of the...

2011-10-19 12:36:00

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected signs of icy bodies raining down in an alien solar system. The downpour resembles our own solar system several billion years ago during a period known as the "Late Heavy Bombardment," which may have brought water and other life-forming ingredients to Earth. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) During this epoch, comets and other frosty objects flung from the outer...

2011-10-05 13:03:00

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Astronomers have found a new cosmic source for the same kind of water that appeared on Earth billions of years ago and created the oceans. The findings may help explain how Earth's surface ended up covered in water. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) New measurements from the Herschel Space Observatory show that comet Hartley 2, which comes from the distant Kuiper Belt, contains water with the same chemical...

Image 1 - Comet Found To Contain Ocean-Like Water
2011-10-05 14:10:47

According to a new study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, the Earth's ocean may have been created by comets. Measurements taken from the Herschel Space Observatory show that comet Hartley 2 contains water with the same chemical signature as Earth's oceans. This comet lies in the Kuiper Belt about 30 to 50 times as far away as the distance between Earth and the sun. "Our results with Herschel suggest that comets could have played a major role in bringing vast amounts of...

Spinning Object Discovered In The Kuiper Belt
2011-10-03 09:07:55

[ Watch the Video ] The bizarre, hourglass-shaped Kuiper belt object 2001QG298 spins round like a propeller as it orbits the Sun, according to an astronomer from Queens University Belfast.   The discovery that the spinning object is tilted at nearly 90 degrees to the ecliptic plane is surprising, and suggests that this type of object could be very common in the Kuiper belt. The finding will be presented by Dr Pedro Lacerda at the Joint Meeting of the European Planetary Science...

Dwarf Planet Mysteries Beckon To New Horizons
2011-09-04 05:42:58

  At this very moment one of the fastest spacecraft ever launched -- NASA's New Horizons -- is hurtling through the void at nearly one million miles per day.  Launched in 2006, it has been in flight longer than some missions last, and still has four more years of travel to go. New Horizons headed for the lonely world of Pluto on the outer edge of the solar system. Although astronomers now call Pluto a dwarf planet, "it's actually a large place, about 5,000 miles around at...

space-082411-002
2011-08-24 10:15:34

  Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have discovered that a dwarf planet at the edge of the solar system, dubbed 2007 OR10, is an icy world with about half its surface covered in water ice that once flowed from ancient, slush-producing volcanoes. The red-tinged planet, nicknamed Snow White, may also be covered in a thin layer of methane, the last remnant of an atmosphere slowly being dissipated into space, astronomers said. "You get to see this nice...

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2011-05-12 10:39:40

The fifth dwarf planet of the Solar System, Haumea, and at least one of its two satellites, are covered in crystalline water-ice due to the tidal forces between them and the heat of radiogenic elements. This is the finding of an international research study using observations from the VLT telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. The tiny and strange planet Haumea moves beyond the orbit of Neptune. It has the shape of a flattened rugby ball and is around 2,000 km long. It spins...

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2011-01-13 10:25:00

In the outer reaches of our solar system lies a mysterious region far more remote and difficult to explore than the Australian outback. It remains the only part of our solar system not visited by spacecraft. Called the Kuiper Belt, this area beyond Neptune is home to the dwarf planets Pluto, Eris, Makemake, and Haumea. It also harbors thousands of smaller objects that form a second, icy asteroid belt (or more appropriately, comet belt). In this realm of perpetual twilight, the distant sun...

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2010-12-23 13:05:00

By University Of Arizona Communications The extraterrestrial rock is tumbling through space alongside thousands of similar objects in our solar system's main asteroid belt, roughly between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. An asteroid discovered more than 100 years ago my not be an asteroid at all, but an extinct comet that is coming back to life, according to new observations. The night of Dec. 11, Steve Larson, senior staff scientist with the Catalina Sky Survey, was searching for potentially...


Latest Kuiper belt Reference Libraries

6_07e7808819d3a0e0b1e9459490122f2b2
2004-10-19 04:45:42

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...

6_79b1bf0245952aa2e5b479867b1c322b2
2004-10-19 04:45:41

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...

Solar System
2012-10-22 06:09:41

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...

4_fa986c4947be6caa1fdc9a322408b0882
2004-10-19 04:45:41

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...

4_dc08febfcab194aed2ada6677c525dc62
2004-10-19 04:45:41

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...

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