Glossary term: Kuiper Belt

Also known as Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt

Description: The Kuiper Belt is a band of small, icy objects in the outer Solar System mostly lying beyond the orbit of Neptune. Most objects are found at distances of 40–48 astronomical units from the Sun. Objects in the Kuiper Belt are mostly small although several dwarf planets can be found there, including Pluto. Unlike the small bodies and dwarf planets in the asteroid belt, the objects in the Kuiper Belt are mostly made of frozen water, methane, and ammonia.

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Term and definition status: This term and its definition is still awaiting approval

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".

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Image of Pluto in enhanced colour to bring out differences in surface composition. They include craters, ridges and plains.


Caption: NASA's New Horizons spacecraft captured this high-resolution enhanced colour view of the dwarf planet Pluto on in July 2015. The image combines blue, red and infrared images taken by the Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC). Pluto’s surface appears enhanced in this view to a rainbow of pale blues, yellows, oranges, and deep reds. The image resolves details and colours on scales as small as 1.3 kilometers.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute credit link
License: PD Public Domain icons