Kuiper’S Belt: Its Formation, Structure, Surface And Systemion With Neptune

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Kuiper’s belt: its formation, structure, surface and systemion with Neptune

Kuiper’s belt is located in the outer areas of our solar system, just after Neptune’s orbit, and it is believed that they are materials that remain from the formation of the planets. Although the official name is Kuiper-Edgeworth’s belt, most people simply call Kuiper belt. It has an album form that extends from Neptune orbit to almost 50 UA (astronomical units) from the sun.

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It is believed that Kuiper’s belt houses million small icy bodies that are mainly composed of nitrogen, methane, ammonia and water. Kuiper’s belt approaches 20 times larger than the asteroid belt and about 20 times wider.

Basic Kuiper belt

Kuiper’s belt occupies a huge volume within our planetary system. It is a huge region in the cold exterior regions of our solar system that is often called the ‘third zone’. Astronomers believe that there are millions of frozen objects, from small to large, in this area, including hundreds of thousands that have more than 60 mi / 100 km wide. The dwarf planet Pluto is located in Kuiper’s belt and is part of those objects that have more than 1000 km wide.

In addition to water and rock ice, Kuiper belt objects also contain many other compounds that are frozen, such as methane and ammonia. Some researchers refer to the area such as Edgeworth-Kuiper’s belt, while others call it Transneptunian region. They refer to objects such as Kbo (for Kuiper belt objects) or TNO (for transneptunian objects).

Name history

Astronomer Kenneth Edgewood presented a 1943 proposal to speculate that the great celestial and comets objects could exist in greater number just outside the planet Neptune. Although it was thought that his proposal was only a theory, the Dutch astronom. The 1950 Oort theory included the fact that it was a vast unexplored area.


When scientists confirmed their observation, they named Oort’s cloud in their honor. In 1951, Gerard Kuiper made an additional prediction with respect to the huge area out of Neptune containing asteroids and other bodies. Give.


Scientists believe that Kuiper’s belt contains the remains of solar system formation. It is similar to the relationship between Jupiter and the asteroid belt in which it is an area of objects that could have formed a planet if Neptune had not been there. The amount of debris and material today in Kuiper’s belt can be just a small percentage of what was there when it was formed for the first time. A theory that is well supported indicates that as the orbits of the four giant planets of Jupiter, Saturn, Urano and Neptune changed, caused the loss of the majority of the original material.

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The theory is that this was 7 to 10 times the mass of our land. The theory is based on the idea that at the beginning of the history of our solar system, Neptune and Uran. As the planets continued to move away, they passed through a dense album of smaller ice creams that were left after the giant planets formed. Since Neptune’s orbit is the furthest, its gravity began to bend the palmadite of the icy bodies inwards to go to the other giant planets.

Jupiter’s severity is the strongest and, as they approached Jupiter, he created an ‘tyrachin’ effect for most frozen bodies to go to orbits of extreme distances, such as Oort’s cloud, or completely outside theSolar system. When Neptune pushed ice cream towards the sun, this created a condition in which his own orbit began to move away even more, with his gravity forcing the rest of the icy objects that were in the area that we found today in the Kuiper belt.

The objects found in Kuiper’s belt occasionally hit each other, making objects smaller and more fragmented. This has caused Kuiper’s belt to erosion. You can create smaller objects, such as comets, and the smallest dust is expelled from the solar system with solar winds.

Structure and surface

Kuiper’s belt is a huge area of donut -shaped space in our exterior solar system. There are many icy bodies in the area we refer to as KBO (Kuiper belt objects) or TNO (Transneptunian objects). These are a variety of shapes, colors and sizes, and are not distributed very uniformly in space. Astronomers were surprised to discover that the KBOs were often grouped according to the shape and size of their orbits.

This led to the understanding that there were several very different and different groups and that the orbits could offer a track of these origins and history. The scientists discovered that the category to which an object belongs has a lot to do with its interaction over time with the gravity of Neptune. Most Kuiper belt objects are found in the main belt or in the dispersed album.

KBB classic

A large part of the KBO orbit around the sun in what is known as the classic Kuiper belt. The word ‘classic’ refers to the belief that these kbo have orbits that are more similar to their original or ‘class’ of how Kuiper’s belt was expected before astronomers find objects.

The astronomers of the past expected the objects beyond Neptune. However, it was found that many kbo had both elliptical and inclined orbits. The two main groups inside the classic Kuiper belt are called ‘hot’ and ‘cold’. Instead of referring to temperature, they actually describe the orbits of the object, as well as the amount of gravitational influence that Neptune has on them.

All classic kbo share the similarity in the average distance of the sun of around 40-50 au. Cold classic KBOs have a more circular orbit that is not so aligned with the planet plane, while hot classic kbo have a more elliptical and inclined orbit that astronomers call eccentric or inclined, respectively.

What this means is that the KBB Classic Cold pass most of their time approximately to the same distance from the Sun, while the KBB hot can wander in wider ranges of distances from the sun. The hot kbo orbits can take them near the sun and then further.

It seems that Neptune is the main influence that causes the differences between cold and hot classic kbo. Cold classic kbo have orbits that never approach Neptune and, therefore, are ‘great’ and do not bother Neptune’s gravity. They have orbits that have probably not changed for billions of years. The hot classic KBOs have had interactions with Neptune in the past and are affected by their gravity. The interactions make energy pump to its orbit, which makes its shape stretch to be elliptical and incline them outside the planet plane.

Resonant kbo

There are some kbo whose orbits are fully controlled by Neptune. His orbit is called being in ‘resonance’ with the giant planet, and it means that his orbits are stable and repeated with that of Neptune. The resonant kbo have a specific number of orbits in the same amount of time that takes Neptune to complete a specific number of orbits. There are some resonant kbo that have the same relationship with the Dwarf Pluto and have been assigned their own category within the resonant KBOs as Plutinos.

Dispersed disk

Beyond the main part of the Kuiper belt there is a region called dispersed disc. It is where objects have been launched that were dispersed by Neptune and their orbits are very elliptical and very inclined to the planet plane. Some of these objects have orbits that move away up to hundreds of Au del Sol and well above the planet’s plane, and then return to a closer area near Neptune’s orbit.

Its orbits change and evolve constantly and are different from the classic Kuiper belt that has stable orbits. The dispersed album is what gives to Kuiper’s belt its wide form of donut.

Other family objects in Kuiper’s belt

While most objects in Kuiper’s belt are in the main part of the belt or on the dispersed disc, there are some other ‘families’ of objects that orbit around the sun inside and outside the belt. It is more than likely that these objects were originally from the Kuiper belt, but then they were remote by the gravity of Neptune or one of the other great planets.

Separate objects

These are objects inside the Kuiper belt that never approach the sun more than around 40 au. They are different from almost all the other kbo that passed at least part of their orbits closer to the sun than 40 au. 

The distance from Neptune to the sun is (~ 30 au), and since separate objects do not approach the distance of Neptune, scientists do not believe they were taken from the Kuiper belt through interactions with Neptune. 

They believe that it is more than likely that there is another force responsible for their orbits, such as a giant planet without discovering in a distant orbit, the severity of the stars that pass or even the gravitational alterations that occurred in the formation of the Kuiper belt. An example of separate KBO is the Dwarf Planet Sedna.


Centaurs are the objects that have orbits that travel through the space between the orbits of Neptune and Jupiter. During their orbits, they interact with the seriousness of the giant planet, and because gravity are so strong, they will eventually be pushed into the inner solar system to become comets or collide with planets or the sun, or be completely expelled from the systemsolar completely. The final destination of the centaurs constantly occurs and can carry tens of millions of years. Scientists believe that the evidence that Centaurs still remain could be due to the fact that they are being supplied or replenished from another place.

An explanation is that they have escaped from Kuiper’s belt. It is considered that centaurs are dispersed objects such as those of the dispersed disk, but unlike the centaurs, the centaurs are dispersed closer to the sun due to the interaction with Neptune instead of further.

Visits to space

New Horizon: released in 2006. New Horizon traveled through the asteroid belt and Kuiper’s belt on his way to visit and study the dwarf planet Pluto and his moons. Many of the short period comets have been tracked by astronomers since their origins in Kuiper’s belt to follow their orbital periods of 200 or less. The objects in the Kuiper belt vary in size, being the largest known objects Pluto, Quaoar, Makemake, Haumea, Ixion and Varuna;which are also often called TNO (transneptunian objects). When exploring other galaxies, scientists have so far discovered that there are structures similar to our Kuiper belt around at least nine other stars. The Ice study found in Kuiper’s belt objects shows that ice dates back to the solar system formation. Kuiper’s belt research helps scientists understand the conditions of our early solar system nebula. Scientists have an approximate estimate that Kuiper’s belt could contain about 35.000 objects with diameters greater than 100 mm. The results of the Pluto overflow of the NASA New Horizons mission brought more data and images of Pluto and its Caronte moon and other moons inside the Kuiper belt. Before this mission, the images were only gray and blurred. Scientists believe that Neptune’s moon, Triton, once was in Kuiper’s belt and was then captured by Neptune’s gravitational attraction.

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