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Latest Kuiper belt Stories

2006-08-13 11:55:00

By Alan Crosby PRAGUE -- 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 to downgrade...

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2006-06-16 09:38:26

Washington, DC -- Three new objects locked into roughly the same orbit as Neptune -- called "Trojan" asteroids -- have been found by researchers from the Carnegie Institution's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) and the Gemini Observatory in Hilo, Hawaii. The discovery offers evidence that Neptune, much like its big cousin Jupiter, hosts thick clouds of Trojans in its orbit, and that these asteroids probably share a common source. It also brings the total of known Neptune Trojans...

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2006-04-11 12:50:00

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has resolved the "tenth planet," nicknamed "Xena" for the first time, and has found that it is only just a little larger than Pluto. Though previous ground-based observations suggested that Xena was about 30 percent greater in diameter than Pluto, Hubble observations taken on Dec. 9 and 10, 2005, yield a diameter of 1,490 miles (with an uncertainty of 60 miles) for Xena. Pluto's diameter, as measured by Hubble, is 1,422 miles. "Hubble is the only telescope...

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2006-03-14 00:55:00

By Irene Klotz HOUSTON -- Particles from any icy comet that were collected and returned to Earth aboard a NASA science satellite show dozens of minerals that form only in extreme heat -- a finding that complicates theories about how the solar system formed, scientists said on Monday. Prevailing theories about the solar system's formation cannot explain how this high-temperature material ended up in the frigid regions beyond Neptune's orbit, the so-called Kuiper Belt where comets formed....

2006-02-22 15:41:35

LONDON (Reuters) - The tiny, distant and frozen planet Pluto, for 30 years believed to have just one moon, has suddenly been found to have two more satellites. Only discovered in 1930 because of its vast distance from Earth, Pluto has remained a largely enigmatic object ever since. Some three billion miles from the Sun, Pluto, the ninth planet, is the only one not yet to have been visited by a spacecraft. Its first known satellite Charon was not discovered until 1978. With a...

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2006-02-22 12:45:00

NASA -- Anxiously awaited follow-up observations with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have confirmed the presence of two new moons around the distant planet Pluto. The moons were first discovered by Hubble in May 2005, but the science team probed even deeper into the Pluto system last week to look for additional satellites and to characterize the orbits of the moons. Though the team had little doubt the moons are real, they were happy to see the moons show up very close to the locations...

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2006-02-08 12:10:00

JPL -- NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has identified two huge "hypergiant" stars circled by monstrous disks of what might be planet-forming dust. The findings surprised astronomers because stars as big as these were thought to be inhospitable to planets. "These extremely massive stars are tremendously hot and bright and have very strong winds, making the job of building planets difficult," said Joel Kastner of the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. "Our data suggest that the...

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2006-02-02 07:45:00

Berkeley -- A bound pair of icy comets similar to the dirty snowballs circling outside the orbit of Neptune has been found lurking in the shadow of Jupiter. Astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley, working with colleagues in France and at the Keck Telescope in Hawaii, have calculated the density of a known binary asteroid system that shares Jupiter's orbit, and concluded that Patroclus and its companion probably are composed mostly of water ice covered by a patina of dirt....

2006-02-02 00:30:00

By Patricia Reaney LONDON (Reuters) - A distant object discovered in space last year which could be the 10th planet in our solar system is around a third bigger than Pluto, German astrophysicists said on Wednesday. They determined the diameter of the potential new planet, known as 2003 UB313, by measuring its thermal emission. "We actually measured the size of UB313 which was not known prior to these observations," Professor Frank Bertoldi, of the University of Bonn and the Max Planck...

2006-02-01 16:21:07

By Patricia Reaney LONDON (Reuters) - A distant object discovered in space last year which could be the 10th planet in our solar system is around a third bigger than Pluto, German astrophysicists said on Wednesday. They determined the diameter of the potential new planet, known as 2003 UB313, by measuring its thermal emission. "We actually measured the size of UB313 which was not known prior to these observations," Professor Frank Bertoldi, of the University of Bonn and the Max...


Latest Kuiper belt Reference Libraries

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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...

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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...

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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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