Some far-out general details

you probably don’t know…


   Beyond our farthest away planet, Neptune¹ is a region of space stuff called the

                Kuiper Belt.


For some quick “take away” about this, use the DOOR:



   [This is adapted from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Space & Space Exploration (Metero Books, 2014), pp 140-141.]


   (1)  “Kuiper” rhymes with “hyper.”

   (2)  It seems to be some small pieces of “rock” or “ice” (which are rarely defined more than that) that exist beyond Neptune whirling around in the same general plane as the planets. The Kuiper Belt was suspected to exist in the early 1940s.

   (3)  They are thought to have come into existence after the planets and their moons formed out of gas swirling around a “young” sun. They are “leftovers” from the birth of the Solar System.

   (4)  They are about 3,000,000,000 miles (4.8 billion km) away.

   (5)  The are thought to be the source of some comets.

   (6)  The first KBO (Kuiper Belt object) wasn’t seen, however, until August 30, 1992, by David Jewitt and Jane Luu. It was called “QB1” and was 176 miles (283 km) across and moving in a circular orbit beyond Neptune.

   (7)  Janet Luu, the co-founder, was born (1963) in Saigon, came to the U.S. at 12, attended Stanford, Harvard, and MIT where she is a senior scientist.

   (8)  More than 60 KBOs have been identified since then.

   (9)  Our Solar System is exceeding complex.

   (10)  More and more detail is being discovered about the Solar System that’s being quietly tucked away.


   ¹ Pluto was demoted to “dwarf planet” status in 2006. Sometimes in its unusual orbit it’s closer to the Sun than Neptune, sometimes it’s father away.