Pluto Is Just One of Millions of Objects in the Kuiper Belt
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Once we’re younger youngsters at school, many people study concerning the planets, the sun, and possibly the asteroid belt. There’s rather more to our photo voltaic system than that, although, together with a area of the outer solar system referred to as the Kuiper belt.
Sitting past the orbit of Neptune, the Kuiper (pronounced Ky-per) belt is house to hundreds of thousands (or billions, it’s unclear) of icy objects that orbit our solar identical to the planets and asteroids we learn about. Here is how NASA puts it: “Much like the asteroid belt, the Kuiper belt is a area of leftovers from the photo voltaic system’s early historical past. Just like the asteroid belt, it has additionally been formed by an enormous planet, though it is extra of a thick disk (like a doughnut) than a skinny belt.”
Fashions and diagrams of the photo voltaic system typically appear to finish on the orbit of Neptune – or maybe Pluto in case you’re taking a look at an older model. Placing apart the controversy about Pluto’s status as a dwarf planet, there are literally millions of objects past the orbit of Neptune – and a few of them are sizable. These are referred to as Kuiper belt objects or KBOs. Up to now, round 2,000 KBOs have been categorized.
Along with Pluto, there are a number of dwarf planets which can be a part of the Kuiper belt, together with Eris, Makemake, and Haumea. These massive photo voltaic system objects orbit the solar just like the planets however aren’t fairly massive sufficient to be categorized as such. There are hundreds of thousands of different, smaller objects, like comets and moons, a lot of that are usually clustered in a band of area between 30-55 Astronomical Units (AU) from the solar. (1 AU equals the gap from Earth to the solar on common, which is 90 million miles or 150 million kilometers.)
Past the Kuiper belt, there’s additionally the Oort cloud, one other space of area with comparatively extra objects in it. All this to say, there’s much more to our photo voltaic system than the eight planets most of us find out about.