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Part 4

Part 4

Part

Smaller Objects: ! Pluto • Not a planet anymore (dwarf planet) • A large Kuiper belt object • Only 2,274 km in diameter • 39.5 AU from the Sun (average) • Mostly ice, some rocky material • Orbited by Charon, , nearly as large as Pluto ! Kuiper Belt • A disk-shaped region of space from 30 to 50 AU distant from the Sun • Contains millions of tiny ice particles, some larger cometary bodies • Comets are thought to derive mainly from the Kuiper Belt • Eris - a Kuiper object discovered in 2005, it is ~2,500 km in diameter (larger than Pluto) at 96.7 AU from the Sun • Likely to be tens of thousands of objects >100 km in size, still undiscovered ! Oort Cloud • Inferred from solar system formation models, not directly observed • Thought to be a cloud of cometary bodies surrounding the Sun in a broad sphere • May extend out to nearly 0.5 a light year from the Sun, and contain as much mass as Jupiter (in total)

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Extraterrestrial Snowballs from the Solar System's Outer Frontier
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