Hi everyone and thanks for stopping by. I hope you are as excited as I am regarding our world and our place in it. We are truly in a new Age of Discovery as we search out the mysterious of our universe hidden since time began.
We recognize eight planets in our solar system, the furthest being Neptune which is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third-largest by mass. Beyond Neptune are what is referred to as Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNO) which include minor planets like Pluto and other rocky and icy objects that orbit our sun.
Kuiper Belt: A disc-shaped region beyond Neptune extending from 30 – 55 astronomical units (AU). An AU is the approximate distance from the Sun to Earth, or 93 million miles. There are over a half million icy and rocky TNOs we know of so far with and close to 100,000 having a diameter of at least 100 kilometers (62 miles). There are probably hundreds of thousands more yet to be discovered along with a trillion or so comets. There are four dwarf planets that we know of. Most comets that take less than 200 years to orbit the sun are believed to be in the Kuiper Belt.
Astronomers think the frozen objects in the Kuiper Belt may hold clues about the origin of our solar system - sort of like how fossils tell the story of dinosaurs on Earth. Scientists think the gravity of big planets like Jupiter and Saturn swept all these icy leftovers out to the edge of our solar system.
Oort Cloud: In 1950, Dutch astronomer Jan Oort suggested that some of the comets entering the solar system come from a cloud of icy bodies, ammonia, and methane that may lie as far as 100,000 times Earth's distance from the sun. It is believed that this cloud of particles are the remains of the disc material which formed the Sun and the eight planets.
When its inhabitants interact with stars, molecular clouds, and gravity from the galaxy, they may find themselves spiraling inward toward the sun, or cast completely out of the solar system into distant regions of space. The Oort’s Cloud extreme distance makes it challenging for scientists to identify objects within it. Comets with orbits longer than 200 years originate from the Oort Cloud and can be as far as three light years from the sun.
Some astronomers theorize the Sun may have captured the material in the Oort Cloud from outer disks of other stars that formed in the same nebula as our star. The planetoid Sedna, discovered in 2003, is thought to reside here.
Conspiracy Theories: There is a conspiracy theory NASA knows of a mysterious unnamed planet lurking beyond Pluto. The scientific claims were based on observations of gravitational influences on a group of space bodies termed the “extreme trans-Neptunian objects” (ETNOs) orbiting our Sun beyond the planet Neptune. It's coming our way and spells certain doom for us, but our government is keeping it a secret. Yes, there is quite a following on this one. For more on this Click Here.
Did You Know: The New Horizons spacecraft is now heading toward the Kuiper Belt to an object named 2014 MU69 a billion miles away from Pluto, It is set to arrive in January 2019. The object is about fifteen miles wide and is small enough that it has not been modified by geologic processes and is far enough away from the sun’s influence that it likely has maintained its original composition. New Horizons will then keep going until it runs out of fuel.
Fun Facts: Astronomers have found structures similar to our Kuiper Belt around at least nine other stars using the Hubble Space Telescope.
My name is Stephen Tremp and I’m a writer of speculative fiction. My fourth novel, Salem’s Daughters, is set for release October 1st. To pre-order a copy for $2.99 Click Here.