Questions tagged [kuiper-belt]

Questions about the circumstellar disk orbiting in the outer Solar System, beyond the orbit of Neptune.

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Is the mass of Kuiper belt dominated by large objects?

There is a problem in my example sheet trying to teach me distributions. My result is that Kuiper belt objects are dominated by large mass objects. Is this supported by observational evidence?
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Are there actual asteroids in the Oort cloud?

This answer to At what annual rate are new exoplanets being recognized? How does it compare to new asteroids? shows that the rate of new asteroid discovery is roughly two orders of magnitude higher ...
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How many Kuiper Belt objects have moons? How do we know this?

On 2012 in the New Horizons' The PI's Perspective Alan Stern wrote The Kuiper Belt at 20: Paradigm Changes in Our Knowledge of the Solar System (more also archived) which includes: Most of the known ...
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Why is the Kuiper belt called like this?

Since most orbits of KBOs are highly inclined, isn't it rather a "Kuiper cloud"? Most main belt objects are also more inclined than the eight recognized planets, but not as much as KBOs (and ...
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What caused this mysterious stellar occultation on July 10, 2017 from something ~100 km away from 486958 Arrokoth?

In 2017 a series of stellar occultations by asteroid 2014 MU69 "Ultima Thule" now officially named 486958 Arrokoth were timed in order to obtain better orbital information before the New ...
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Are there any known low-inclination trans-Neptunian objects?

All the trans-Neptunian object's orbits I know are very inclined compared to those of the eight recognized planets, and Centaur's orbits are highly inclined as well. Are there any known Centaurs and/...
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Could rocks from Earth have reached the Kuiper belt, or Neptune at least? If so, how?

This answer (currently edit 3) to How certain are we that we have not sent life to other planets/moons? begins: First of all, rocks from Earth are probably just about everywhere in the Solar System. ...
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Why isn't Eris considered a planet despite being the body of dominant mass?

The 2006 definition of a planet states that a planet is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it ...
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If the hypothetical planet beyond the Kuiper belt exists, is it likely there are even more planets farther outside?

Since 2016 there are hints that a (probably) ice giant planet may exist far beyond the Kuiper belt. There are speculations that it may be a rogue planet captured by the Sun. But is it likely that ...
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What does the Sun look like from Eris at its aphelion?

At its aphelion (most distant location from the Sun) the outermost-known planet Eris is about 100 times as far from the Sun as Earth. What does the Sun look like from Eris' surface? Is there still a ...
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Strange speck of light in the picture sequence of the approach to 2014 Mu69 (Ultima Thule)

In the picture sequence which was taken by New Horizons during the approach to Ultima Thule on the 3rd of Dec there can be seen a speck of light in the lower left corner, not as bright as 2014 MU69 ...
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Could stellar occultations be used to survey Kuiper belt objects?

The first hint we had as to the shape of Ultima Thule was via an occultation study using an array of small telescopes. Has anyone investigated the feasibility and effectiveness of conducting a survey ...
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What observations will be done during the New Horizons flyby of Ultima Thule?

On New Year's Eve 2018, the New Horizons spacecraft will fly past Ultima Thule (2014 MU69) at about a third of the distance it flew by Pluto some years ago. So it should be able to get some detailed ...
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Are there recent estimates of Kuiper belt mass?

What is the mass of the Kuiper belt? Obviously estimates will be highly uncertain, but for my application I would like to find a decent current estimate. The papers I found so far: (Gladman et al. ...
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Kuiper belt planet formation

There are a lot of objects of different sizes in the Kuiper belt. Are objects in the Kuiper belt stable? Is there any chance in the future that one of the larger objects would accumulate enough ...
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What is the farthest reported distance from observer from which a solar system body has occulted a star?

I originally wrote "...farthest distance from Earth..." but changed to "observer" in case the occultation was observed from a space telescope. It may not matter much but I didn't want to over-...
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Is there an established distinction between a geyser and a cryovolcano in solar system bodies?

Is there an established distinction between a geyser and a cryovolcano in the context of cold solar-system bodies such as the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, or Kuiper belt objects (e.g. Pluto)? Both ...
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Which kind of strategy should we take to discover Planet 9 and other KBOs?

What are the differences between the discoveries of Sedna, 2012vp 113, and the supposed Planet 9? All need deep infrared surveys at the ecliptic plane, but P9 needs a much deeper survey?
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Orbital period for a 1 light year object?

How long would the orbital period be for an object the mass of the moon orbiting the sun at 1 light year in a circular orbit?
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Which measurements have shown that 2014 MU69 is red? (New Horizons' next target)

The recent NASA feature article New Horizons: Possible Clouds on Pluto, Next Target is Reddish MU69 is actually the smallest KBO to have its color measured – and scientists have used that data to ...
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Observed data: Why so many MPECs about TNOs lately?

The Minor Planet Electronic Circulars (MPECs) for July 15 through July 18 reported an unusually high number of re-observations of known trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). These were found in the Pan-...
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How does 2015 RR245 compare to the other KBOs predicting “Planet 9”?

2015 RR245 was recently announced, in a highly eccentric orbit in the KBO. From what I understand, the so called "Planet 9" was predicted because these objects tended to be pointed in a particular ...
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Is there Kuiper belt/Oort cloud like structure in gas giants?

I know gas giants have moons, just like star have planets, how about Kuiper belts or Oort Cloud? Is there any corresponding structure in gas giants? If not, why don't they have?
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Is Planet Nine shepherding the Kuiper Belt?

Is it possible Planet Nine is shepherding the Kuiper Belt similar to the way Jupiter shepherds the asteroid belt? I understand that very little is actually known about Planet Nine at this point, but ...
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What type of planetary-mass object would Planet Nine be?

Given that Planet Nine is hypothesized to be 10-20 times the mass of the Earth orbiting the sun some 200-2500 AU out, what kind of planetary-mass object would it be? Even given that it has apparently ...
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How can the Kuiper belt coexist with the 9th planet?

There are asteroid belts, and there are collections of bodies in resonant orbits, such as Trojans. Aren't these separate things? The recent evidence for the 9th planet is an alignment in various ...
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Could the trajectories of non-periodic comets be used to infer properties of the 'ninth planet'?

Non-periodic comets are comets which have very long orbital periods (>200 years or more), spending most of their time in the outer solar system. Planet X, recently revived by researchers at Caltech, ...
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What's to be gained from the New Horizons mission once it's beyond the Kuiper Belt?

Now that we have seen what Pluto has to offer and New Horizons is headed to the Kuiper Belt, is there anything we can gain from the mission in interstellar space after it travels beyond the Kuiper ...
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Is it proper to refer to objects beyond Neptune as “Kuiper Belt Objects?”

It seems to me that nowadays the more proper term is "Trans-Neptunian Object". Is there any difference between Kuiper Belt Objects and Trans-Neptunian Objects? If not, is one term preferred over the ...
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Retrograde motion and Kuiper Belt Objects

As seen from Earth, planets such as Mars and Jupiter exhibit retrograde motion when they are near opposition (from Earth). I am wondering how this effect extends to very distant objects, such as ...
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How many observations does it take to determine the orbit of a TNO

Several observations of a distant solar object must be taken before determining its orbit, but in the case of objects discovered beyond Neptune's orbit, just how many are required over what period of ...
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Where does the Solar System end?

This is a question I've heard many times in the past, and a quick search of the site says it hasn't been asked here, so I figured I might as well ask (and answer) it. I know that it is rare for ...
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Have Pluto or any of its moons been mapped?

I was looking over some of the data for the terrestrial planets, and noticed that Venus, despite its cloud covering, had been mapped by the Arecibo Observatory. Also that other planets such as mars, ...
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How can the orbit of a Kuiper Belt Object be differentiated from the transit of a rogue planet?

Related to the question "Are any Pluto-sized objects remaining to be discovered in the Kuiper Belt?" and the fact that most of the Kuiper Belt objects have very elliptical orbits, the question begs, ...
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Are any Pluto-sized objects remaining to be discovered in the Kuiper Belt?

An object approximately the same size as Pluto, Eris, was discovered only 8 years ago (in 2005). Are there any Pluto-sized objects remaining to be discovered, and if so, how far away from the Sun ...