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Space Fossils
The Kuiper Belt is a disc-shaped region of icy objects beyond the orbit of Neptune -- billions of kilometers from our sun. Pluto and Eris are the best known of these icy worlds. There may be hundreds more of these ice dwarfs out there. The Kuiper Belt and even more distant Oort Cloud are believed to be the home of comets that orbit our sun.

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Far Out
The band of icy objects that make up the Kuiper (say Ki-Per) Belt is is situated far from the sun -- between 30 to 55 AU from our sun.
Far Out
Solid Science
In 1951, astronomer Gerard Kuiper suggested that there was a belt of comet-like debris at the edge of our solar system. But his theory wasn't confirmed until 1991 -- more that 20 years after his death.
Solid Science
Fast Football
Kuiper Belt object (KBO for short) and dwarf planet Haumea is one of the fastest rotating objects in our solar system. Faster than all of the planets and the other dwarf planets, Haumea rotates once every four hours. Haumea spins so fast that it has pulled itself into the shape of a squashed American football.
Fast Football
Mission Milestone
The Kuiper Belt has never been visited -- ever. New Horizons, the first mission to the Kuiper Belt and an object that resides there (Pluto), is scheduled to arrive in 2015.
Mission Milestone
Outside Influence
The sun is a large influence to our lives here on Earth. Without it we would not enjoy the life we live. However, for objects within the outer Oort Cloud it is a different story. The outer extent of the Oort Cloud is believed to be in the region of space where the sun's gravitational influence is weaker than the influence of other nearby stars.
Outside Influence
Trillion
The Oort Cloud is full of icy objects. It is probable that the Oort Cloud contains 0.1 to 2 trillion icy bodies in solar orbit.
Trillion
Go the Distance
The Oort Clouds is a very distant place. In our solar system, the Oort Cloud occupies a region of space between five and 100 thousand AU. 100 thousand AU is about 1.5 trillion km (932 billion miles) from our sun.
Go the Distance
Oort Object
Since objects from the Oort Cloud take thousands of years to orbit the sun it is difficult to observe one in a lifetime. The first observed body belonging to the inner Oort Cloud is Sedna. Sedna travels in a long, elliptical orbit -- between 76 and nearly 1,000 AU from the sun. Since Sedna's orbit takes it to such an extreme distance, Sedna approaches the sun only briefly during each 10,500-year solar orbit.
Oort Object
Far Out
The band of icy objects that make up the Kuiper (say Ki-Per) Belt is is situated far from the sun -- between 30 to 55 AU from our sun.
Far Out
Solid Science
In 1951, astronomer Gerard Kuiper suggested that there was a belt of comet-like debris at the edge of our solar system. But his theory wasn't confirmed until 1991 -- more that 20 years after his death.
Solid Science
Fast Football
Kuiper Belt object (KBO for short) and dwarf planet Haumea is one of the fastest rotating objects in our solar system. Faster than all of the planets and the other dwarf planets, Haumea rotates once every four hours. Haumea spins so fast that it has pulled itself into the shape of a squashed American football.
Fast Football
Mission Milestone
The Kuiper Belt has never been visited -- ever. New Horizons, the first mission to the Kuiper Belt and an object that resides there (Pluto), is scheduled to arrive in 2015.
Mission Milestone
Outside Influence
The sun is a large influence to our lives here on Earth. Without it we would not enjoy the life we live. However, for objects within the outer Oort Cloud it is a different story. The outer extent of the Oort Cloud is believed to be in the region of space where the sun's gravitational influence is weaker than the influence of other nearby stars.
Outside Influence
Trillion
The Oort Cloud is full of icy objects. It is probable that the Oort Cloud contains 0.1 to 2 trillion icy bodies in solar orbit.
Trillion
Go the Distance
The Oort Clouds is a very distant place. In our solar system, the Oort Cloud occupies a region of space between five and 100 thousand AU. 100 thousand AU is about 1.5 trillion km (932 billion miles) from our sun.
Go the Distance
Oort Object
Since objects from the Oort Cloud take thousands of years to orbit the sun it is difficult to observe one in a lifetime. The first observed body belonging to the inner Oort Cloud is Sedna. Sedna travels in a long, elliptical orbit -- between 76 and nearly 1,000 AU from the sun. Since Sedna's orbit takes it to such an extreme distance, Sedna approaches the sun only briefly during each 10,500-year solar orbit.
Oort Object