Photos of the Sun

Kuiper belt drawing. Mounts and kites

Kuiper belt drawing. Mounts and kites

The Kuiper belt is a region of the Solar System located at a distance between 30 and 100 times that separates the Earth from the Sun, which contains thousands of small frozen objects that are, in fact, comets with elliptical orbits that approach the Sun of periodic way. While it heats them, they develop long tails composed of dust and gases that leave their frozen nuclei. While they are away from the Sun, they might look like the one shown in the drawing.

Comets are found around the Sun in two large groups: the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud. The first is a ring located beyond the orbit of Neptune, with about one billion comets, most with periods of less than 500 years. The Oort cloud is, in theory, a spherical comet layer located halfway between the Sun and the heliopause.

Pluto, which for historical reasons is usually classified as a planet, should be considered rather an extreme example of the icy supercomputers typical of the Kuiper belt. In the drawing you can see, at the top left, the distant Sun.

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Satellites and planetsComet Ikeya-Zhang
Album: Photos of the Solar System Gallery: Mounts and comets