5 Kuiper Belt Facts Beyond Neptune, What Is the Kuiper Belt Like?

5 Kuiper Belt Facts Beyond Neptune, What Is the Kuiper Belt Like?

The position of the Kuiper belt after Neptune's orbit

The position of the Kuiper belt after Neptune's orbit


Netgenz - Sains | In addition to the planets that revolve around the Sun, several other objects are also captured by the Sun's gravitational force. At the end of the solar system, there is an area that contains a circle of ice. This area is known as the Kuiper Belt. Curious about the Kuiper belt? read the following info.

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1. Huge size

Illustration of the Sun as seen from one of the Kuiper belt objects

Illustration of the Sun as seen from one of the Kuiper belt objects


The Kuiper Belt is beyond Neptune's orbit. With a doughnut-like shape, the end of the Kuiper belt is about 30 AU or astronomical units from the Sun. What is meant by astronomical units is the distance from the Sun to Earth (about 150 million km). The core region of the Kuiper belt is about 50 AU from the Sun. After that, there is the outer edge of the Kuiper belt which spreads to 1000 AU. In fact, parts of this belt spread further back.

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2. Not found by Kuiper

Astronomer Gerard Kuiper whose name is used to name a region full of icy bodies

Astronomer Gerard Kuiper whose name is used to name a region full of icy bodies


The name of the Kuiper belt is named after an astronomer from the Netherlands, Gerard Kuiper. He wrote a scientific creation in 1951 which wrote about celestial bodies that existed after Pluto's orbit. Kuiper himself did not actually predict the arrival of some of the objects in the belt. Astronomers themselves are not aware when they find the Kuiper belt. The first KBO discovered was Pluto in 1930. This astronomer did not expect that there would be several icy bodies beyond Neptune.

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3. Like the asteroid belt

Vesta, one of the asteroids in the asteroid belt

Vesta, one of the asteroids in the asteroid belt


For those of you who don't know, the asteroid belt is an area that contains dwarf planets which are said to be asteroids in the solar system. The asteroid belt is located in the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The Kuiper Belt is seen as a remnant of the construction of the solar system. The difference between the Kuiper belt and the asteroid belt is that the Kuiper belt is like a doughnut which is thicker than a disk. According to the researchers, some of these icy bodies would have made a large planet had it not been disturbed by Neptune's gravitational field.

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4. There is much to learn from the Kuiper belt

Illustration of one of the Kuiper belt objects

Illustration of one of the Kuiper belt objects


So far, only about two thousand Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) have been recorded. However, this number is still quite small given the size of the Kuiper belt. Predicted, there are several hundred thousand objects in each place as wide as 100 km. According to Nice mode, there used to be more and more objects in the Kuiper belt. changes in the orbits of the four giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) made some of the material vanish. The amount of this material is approximately 7 to 10 times the mass of the Earth.

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5. Closely observed in 1983

Pioneer 10 spaceship illustration

Pioneer 10 spaceship illustration


The first spacecraft to reach the Kuiper belt region was NASA's Pioneer 10. However, this spacecraft did not visit one of the ice objects that were there. Meanwhile, the spacecraft that actually visited objects in the Kuiper belt was New Horizons. This NASA plane flew around Pluto and its satellites around July 2015.

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