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Latest Kuiper belt Stories

05cda4bb288c83efbb9d6cffd7edc05f1
2007-06-14 13:00:00

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has teamed up with the W.M. Keck Observatory to precisely measure the mass of Eris, the largest member of a new class of dwarf planets in our solar system. Eris is 1.27 times the mass of Pluto, formerly the largest member of the Kuiper Belt of icy objects beyond Neptune. Hubble observations in 2006 showed that Eris is slightly physically larger than Pluto. But the mass could only be calculated by observing the orbital motion of the moon Dysnomia around Eris....

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2007-03-24 13:40:00

PASADENA, Calif. -- In the outer reaches of the solar system, there is an object known as 2003 EL61 that looks like and spins like a football being drop-kicked over the proverbial goalpost of life. Still awaiting a more poetic name, 2003 EL61 largely escaped the media hubbub during last year's demotion of Pluto, but new findings could make it one of the most important of the Kuiper-belt objects for understanding the workings of the solar system. In this week's Nature, the original discoverer...

78b53ba4c069229a9a20151ef75fd5c51
2007-01-19 09:20:00

WASHINGTON - NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is on the doorstep of the solar system's largest planet. The spacecraft will study and swing past Jupiter, increasing speed on its voyage toward Pluto, the Kuiper Belt and beyond. The fastest spacecraft ever launched, New Horizons will make its closest pass to Jupiter on Feb. 28, 2007. Jupiter's gravity will accelerate New Horizons away from the sun by an additional 9,000 miles per hour, pushing it past 52,000 mph and hurling it toward a pass...

fde2fe5053b39cce8c84ff8b5aeb99a01
2006-11-29 08:25:25

The New Horizons team got a faint glimpse of the mission's distant, main planetary target when one of the spacecraft's telescopic cameras spotted Pluto for the first time. The Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) took the pictures during an optical navigation test on Sept. 21-24, and stored them on the spacecraft's data recorder until their recent transmission back to Earth. Seen at a distance of about 4.2 billion kilometers (2.6 billion miles) from the spacecraft, Pluto is little more...

5cff585bf81c004ea1858c3e878228751
2006-08-26 04:54:05

If you woke up Thursday morning and sensed something was different about the world around you, you're absolutely right. Pluto is no longer a planet. The International Astronomical Union, wrapping up its meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, has resolved one of the most hotly-debated topics in the cosmos by approving a specific definition that gives our solar system eight planets, instead of the nine most of us grew up memorizing. NASA has already visited all eight planets that retain their...

2006-08-24 15:47:31

By Donna Smith WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pluto's lost status disappointed some schoolchildren and had space museum curators scrambling but in the words of one teenager, "It's one less planet to memorize." Quinn Huebner, 15, was visiting the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum on Thursday when he and his family from Mazomanie, Wisconsin, learned international astronomers had decided Pluto was no longer a planet. His sister Grace, 11, also voiced relief. Had Pluto...

2006-08-22 09:30:00

By Alan Crosby PRAGUE -- In coming up with the definition of a planet, astronomers hoped to bring order to the way we look at solar systems. Instead, they created a big bang of their own. A committee formed by the International Astronomers Union (IAU) has proposed that to be called a planet, a celestial body must be in orbit around a star while not itself being a star. It also must be large enough in mass for its own gravity to pull it into a nearly spherical shape. The new definition -- the...

217ca4d37b72b5c519bd5ab3aad4957a1
2006-08-19 15:05:00

PASADENA, Calif. -- Few planet hunters stand to gain as much as Michael Brown if our solar system balloons to 12 planets under a new definition. He's spotted more than a dozen objects that might qualify as planets. So why is he upset? "When I was a kid, planets were special," he said. "This definition takes the magic out of the solar system." It was Brown's discovery of an icy rock bigger than Pluto that helped lead astronomers to rethink their definition of what a planet is. But Brown...

3b8f5f66934cb1d2c88609601f22f3a41
2006-08-16 06:55:00

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The universe really is expanding - astronomers are proposing to rewrite the textbooks to say that our solar system has 12 planets rather than the nine memorized by generations of schoolchildren. Much-maligned Pluto would remain a planet - and its largest moon plus two other heavenly bodies would join Earth's neighborhood - under a draft resolution to be formally presented Wednesday to the International Astronomical Union, the arbiter of what is and isn't a planet....

2006-08-13 11:55:53

By Alan Crosby PRAGUE (Reuters) - Despite being the farthest planet from Earth in our solar system, Pluto has come under attack from astronomers and may be about to lose its status in the battle. Some 3,000 astronomers and scientists from around the world will meet in Prague this week to decide whether Pluto, discovered in 1930, measures up to the definition of a planet. In defining for the first time what exactly a planet is, the International Astronomers Union (IAU) may be forced...


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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