The Kuiper belt is an area of Sol beyond the orbit of Neptune, at 30 to 50 AU (Astronomical Units) from the Sun. All the objects in the Kuiper Belt (e.g. dwarf planets) and objects in the scattered disc (e.g. small icy minor planets known as Scattered disc objects) are trans-Neptunian, because they're located beyond Neptune. There are over 70,000 known Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) that are over 100km (62 mi) in diameter. The density of materials in the belt is very low. They're scattered far and wide from each other. Thus the odds of a probe running into an asteroid are now estimated at less than one in a billion.
The Kuiper belt is named after the Dutch-American astronomer Gerard Kuiper, because he suggested that such small planets or comets have formed there. He's considered by many as the father of modern planetary science.
The region was hypothesized by astronomers for decades. In 1977, Charles Kowal discovered 2060 Chiron, an icy planetoid with an orbit between Saturn and Uranus. In 1992 another object 5145 Pholus, was discovered in a similar orbit.
Kuiper belt objectsEdit
- Kuiper belt
- Barycentre of Pluto and Charon
- 90482 Orcus (rocky ice world)
- Vanth (rocky ice world)
- (307261) 2002 MS4 (ice world)
- Salacia (rocky ice world)
- Actaea (rocky ice world)
- Haumea (ice world)
- Hi'iaka (ice world)
- Quaoar (rocky ice world)
- Makemake (ice world)
- (225088) 2007 OR10 (ice world)
- Eris (ice world)
- Sedna (ice world)
- Persephone (ice world)