Latest Kuiper belt Stories
When a treasure hunt comes up empty-handed, the hunters are understandably disappointed. But when astronomers don't find what they are looking for, the defeat can provide as much information as a successful search.
A new haul of objects closer to home have been found by astronomers looking through the data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
An icy, unknown world might lurk in the distant reaches of our solar system beyond the orbit of Pluto, according to a new computer model. The hidden world -- thought to be much bigger than Pluto based on the model -- could explain unusual features of the Kuiper Belt, a region of space beyond Neptune littered with icy and rocky bodies.
Updated 6:35 p.m.
What superficially resembles a giant moth floating in space is giving astronomers new insight into the formation and evolution of planetary systems.
For millennia, comets were believed to be omens of doom.
The traditional belief that Jupiter acts as a celestial shield, deflecting asteroids and comets away from the inner Solar System, has been challenged by the first in a series of studies evaluating the impact risk to the Earth posed by different groups of object.
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.
New research shows that the current shape a major Kuiper-belt object is the result of a massive impact that occurred about the same time the Earth was forming.
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.
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...
- A young chicken: also used as a pet name for children.