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Latest Kuiper belt Stories

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2006-01-18 06:40:00

NASA -- 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. "We're now beginning to realize that Pluto is one of a small family of similar objects, nearly all of which have moons in orbit around them," says Antonin...

2006-01-17 16:02:16

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. The piano-sized New Horizons probe had been due to take off on a massive unmanned Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station between 1:24 p.m. and 3:23 p.m. (1824 GMT and 2023 GMT). But launch commentator Bruce Buckingham said ground level winds at the...

2006-01-15 15:00:15

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. space agency, which is seeing protests against the plutonium load, will use the largest rocket in the U.S. fleet as part of a plan that calls for bouncing the small probe, about the size of a grand piano, off Jupiter's massive gravity...

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2006-01-12 14:35:00

ORLANDO, Fla. -- 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. Friedman's name is one of about 435,000 names placed on a compact disc that will be in the New Horizons spacecraft when it launches from Cape Canaveral this week on a mission to Pluto and the outer edges of the solar system. "My wife thinks it should be put out a little bit further," said Friedman, 48, a Dallas real estate...

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2006-01-12 14:35:00

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- 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. And the New Horizons spacecraft, set for liftoff on Tuesday, could reach it within nine years. Pluto, a tiny, icy misfit of a planet - some say it's not a planet at all - neither resembles the rocky...

886f54e6bc4061cf31feeb807b71b4861
2006-01-11 12:30:00

JPL -- 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. The findings suggest the dead star, which most likely consumed its inner planets, is still orbited by a ring of surviving comets and possibly outer planets. This is the first observational evidence that comets can outlive their suns. "Astronomers have known for decades that stars are born, have an extended middle age, and then...

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2006-01-03 10:20:00

Cambridge, MA -- 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. It has been suspected that this remote world might be even colder than it should be. Smithsonian scientists now have shown this to be true. Scientists continue to discuss whether Pluto is a planet or should be considered a refugee from the Kuiper belt....

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2005-12-20 08:10:00

The New Horizons spacecraft, scheduled for launch in mid-January, will investigate the far-off planet Pluto and its icy moons. This will be the first spacecraft to study the Pluto system, as well as the mysterious outer region of our solar system known as the Kuiper Belt. Astrobiology Magazine -- The New Horizons mission is currently preparing for a mid-January launch to Pluto. Pluto is one of the most mysterious objects in our solar system. Ten thousand times fainter than the eye can see,...

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2005-12-17 18:25:00

NASA -- Astronomers have found a debris disk around a sun-like star that may be forming or has formed its terrestrial planets. The disk - a probable analog to our asteroid belt - may have begun a solar-system-scale demolition derby, where the rocky remains of failed planets collide chaotically. "This is one of a very rare class of objects that may give us a glimpse into what our solar system may have looked like during the formation of our terrestrial planets," said Dean C. Hines of the...

2005-12-16 17:20:00

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A small spacecraft bound for Pluto was being prepared for transfer to the launch pad on Friday in preparation for blastoff next month, NASA officials said. New Horizons is the centerpiece of a $650 million mission to explore the last of the solar system's original nine planets. Scientists recently have discovered hundreds of Pluto-like objects orbiting more than 50 times farther away from the sun than Earth. NASA is giving New Horizons one of...


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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Word of the Day
monteith
  • A large punch-bowl of the eighteenth century, usually of silver and with a movable rim, and decorated with flutings and a scalloped edge. It was also used for cooling and carrying wine-glasses.
  • A kind of cotton handkerchief having white spots on a colored ground, the spots being produced by a chemical which discharges the color.
This word is possibly named after Monteith (Monteigh), 'an eccentric 17th-century Scotsman who wore a cloak scalloped at the hem.'
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