The Kuiper belt of comets

The Kuiper belt of comets

Fig. 14.9 . A repository of frozen, comet-sized worlds resides in the outer precincts of the planetary system, just beyond the orbit of Neptune and near the orbital plane of the planets. Known as the Kuiper belt, it is thought to contain 100 million to 10 billion, or 108 to 1010, comets. Many Jupiter family comets are tossed into the inner solar system from the Kuiper belt. It is named after the Dutch-American astronomer Gerard Kuiper (1905-1973).

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University