The Kuiper belt and its relation with Pluto

In the outer Solar Sytem there is a zone which is known as the Kuiper belt. It orbits around the sun and receives its name in honour to the Ducth-American astronomer Gerard Kuiper who predicted the existence of this belt in 1951 but…what is exactly  the Kuiper belt ? What is the relation between the Kuiper belt and Pluto?

History

In 1930, Kenneth Edgeworth suggested the idea that there was a group of bodies beyond Neptune besides  Pluto ( which was discovered  by Clyde Tombaugh the same year) . Then in 1951, Gerard Kuiper rekindle that idea in his investigations.

NASA´s  Pioneer 10 spacecraft  entered to an area beyond Neptune in 1983 but did not explore it. Despite all these assumptions about  the Kuiper belt, it was until 1992  when David Jewitt and Jane Lu officially confirmed its existence thanks to the technology advances in telescopes. 

Fourteen years later (2006), the NASA sent the first spacecraft to explore the Kuiper belt and Pluto in a mission named New Horizons. In 2015, the device arrived to  that area. In 2016 we finally saw a Pluto´s photo and in  2019 we were able to observe an image about a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) for the first time. That KBO is named  2014 MU69 but is better known as Ultima Thule. 

What is the Kuiper belt like?

The Kuiper belt is an area  located in the outer sexoquente.blog and its distance from the sun is like going from earth to sun 30 times!  This means it  is far away  from the sun and that’s basically why in the belt you may see frozen volatiles popular known as KBO´s  or Trans neptunian objects (TNO´s) and other icy objects. 

The Kuiper belt´s inner edge starts at Neptuno´s orbit and as we were saying, it is  mainly formed by frosty bodies that are smaller than the moon that orbits around Earth  despite the fact that some of them are planets such as Pluto.  

 Astronomers think that the objects found there, may be leftovers from the Big Bang explosion which originates the universe but were affected by Neptune’s  gravitational influence and that’s why they are dispersed. According to the NASA, there is where some  comets come.

Scientists believe that the study of the Kuiper Belt may help us to understand more about how planets are formed and the way they migrate.  Alan Steirn said: “We have firm evidence that many KBOs (including some large ones like Pluto), were born much closer to the Sun, in the region where the giant planets now orbit.”

Even though the Kuiper belt may be confused and compared with the Asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter, the main difference relays in the kind of rocks. All Kuiper belt´s asteroids are icy while in the Asteroid belt the main components are metal and rock.  

There are two kinds of asteroids in the Kuiper belt: dynamically cold population  and dynamically hot population. It is important to highlight that  the names are not related to the temperature, they were classified according to their analogy with gas particulas. 

What can I find in the Kuiper belt?

In the Kupper belt you can find asteroids,KBO´s, TNO´s, moons and dwarf planets.  The biggest planet is  Pluto (2300 kilometers wide) and has five moons around it:Charon, Kerberos, Styx, Nix and Hydra.

As we were saying, the temperature in the belt  is very freezing  so  Puto’s  temperature is commonly  between  -240 and -218 Celcius grades, as hot as brazil’s hottest brasileirinhas.  Pluto is composed by methane, nitrogen ice, carbon monoxide and water.Then  it is not surprising to find  cryovolcanoes ( volcanoes that throw ice instead of lava).

There are other dwarf planets smaller than Pluto in the Kuiper Belt such as  Haumea Makemake and Eris.  Like Pluto, these planets also have their own moons; Haumea has two (Namaka and Hi´iaka), Makemake has one (Mk2) as well as  Eris (Dysnomia).

Just to compare Earth with the dwarf planets previously mentioned, check the following data which corresponds to the radius of each planet:

Earth: 6,371 kilometers 

Pluto:1,188 kilometers 

Eris: 1,163 kilometers

Makemake: 715 kilometers

Haumea: 620 kilometers 

Is there something beyond the Kuiper Belt?

In 1950 Jan Hendrik Oort, based on his observations, proposed the idea that there is something beyond the Kuiper belt. That zone was named the Oort cloud but it has not been researched as it is too far to be observed by porno carioca. Maybe in the future we will know more about Oort.

Due to New Horizons´ research, we have more precise information about the Kuiper belt and Pluto and we are sure that in the coming years more relevant information will be discovered.

Meanwhile let’s be on the lookout of new NASA discoveries and continue reading ouR articles so that you can be well informed.

New Horizons mission: objectives, challenges and goals

Humans have always wanted to explore the space and its mysteries. Observation was everything we could do until 1961 when the soviet pilot  Yurin Garin became  the first man who travel to the outer space.

Unfortunately, there were other places far far away that couldn’t be easily explored by humans. Pluto, a dwarf planet discovered on February 18th in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh is 7.5 billion kilometers far from Earth so, because of the distance,  visiting that planet was just an impossible dream for humans.

Then, in 2006, the NASA sent a spacecraft to explore Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. The mission was called New Horizons and it is still in progress. It was in 2015 when the spacecraft finally arrived to Pluto in order to explore the planet and identify the main characteristics of its surface and atmosphere.

Alan Stern, who is an engineer and scientist, is the man behind New Horizons investigation. Other institutions such as the NASA and the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University are also involved.

The spacecraft

A Radio Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) gives the spacecraft all the  needed energy. The RTG transforms the heat from the plutonium dioxide into electricity, that’s how this important device works. Some of the spacecraft’s elements are two computers, one high gain antenna, two backup gain antennas, one medium gain dish, a solid-state memory buffer and cameras.

As the trip was going to be long, New Horizons entered in an interval of electronic hibernation after it passed Jupiter in order to save energy. But don´t worry, it began studying Pluto´s surroundings five months before its closest approach.

With a speed of 16.6 km/s and a mass of 1,058 pounds, New Horizons is the fastest spacecraft ever invented and the first one exploring the outer Solar System.

Challenges

Such a distance inevitably means an important challenge to overcome: communication. How much time does the information take to travel from Pluto to Earth?

If you think that waiting an hour to receive a message is an eternity, you will be gobsmacked as soon as you know that after the first encounter with Pluto and Charon; it took 15 months to download all the data.

15 months? Yes, remember that the spacecraft was 4.5 light hours far from Earth and it was only possible to transmit 1-2 kilobits per second.

Photos

Thanks to New Horizons mission, we now know more about Pluto and other bodies from the Kuiper Belt such as moons and frozen volatiles. The discoveries have opened a new era in the scientific world and maybe, they will be an inspiration for future investigations.

In the words of Alan Stern: “The data that New Horizons sent back about Pluto and its system of moons has revolutionized planetary science and inspired people of all ages across the world about space exploration. It’s been a real privilege to be able to do that, for which I’ll be forever indebted to our team and our nation.”

Fortunately, the digital era has increased the access to relevant information from important institutions such as NASA so we can easily be updated about this research. In case you have not seen them, we are now going to show you some outstanding photos taken since 2015:

1.-Pluto

Let me introduce you Pluto’s real colors: charcoal black, dark orange and white. The planet takes that color due to the abundance of icy areas, nitrogen and methane.

2.- Charon

Although we already knew about the existence of this moon since 1978, the photo was taken on July 14th in 2015. Here you can admire Charon, one of the five Pluto’s moons and in fact the biggest one. Charon has ice volcanoes, mountains, canyons and cliffs so it could be considered a dwarf planet if it were not moving around Pluto.

3.- Blue sky

This photo is from August 6th, 2017 and shows a blue ring in the “sky”. The ring is produced by the combination of different chemical reactions in the atmosphere.

4.- Elements

Even though this is not officially a photo, this image was made with information given by New Horizons. Edited by Bill Keeter in 2017, the colorful diagram shows the four important elements that form Pluto: methane, nitrogen, carbon monoxide and water.

5.- Ultima Thule

 This photo was taken in 2019 in the Kuiper Belt and here you can see a frozen volatile named Object 2014 MU69 which is popular known as Ultima Thule.

It’s fantastic to see this images, don’t you you think? Which photo did you like the most? There is no doubt that the mission New Horizons has been crucial as it involves high technology, experts and information that help us to understand more about the galaxy. Even though we are far yet to know everything about the Solar System´s edge, we are now closer than ever before.

What do you have to know about Pluto?


Pluto is like a baby planet due to its size in comparison with the rest of the planets in our Solar System. But size is not related to greatness and there are many facts you have to know about this interesting planet that really deserves your attention. So we are going to explain you the most important ones.

Why is it called Pluto?

It was February 18th in 1930 when an american astronomer named Clyde Tombaugh discovered a new planet. On the other side of the world, in England, a man read about it in the newspaper and his eleven year old granddaughter, Venethia, suggested the name of Pluto.

Then, the man sent the suggestion to the astronomer Herbert Hall Turner who thought it was a great idea. Then, on May 1st in 1930, Pluto became the official name for that planet thanks to Venethia Burney.

Is Pluto really small or it is just a myth?

Have you noticed the size of The Moon? Well, Pluto is smaller at that’s why it is known as a dwarf planet since 2006 due to its 2300 kilometers wide. So yes, if we compare it with other planets, it is really small.

You may be considered just a little point in the galaxy but for others you can be the king.
That’s exactly what happens with Pluto. Even though it is not a formal planet,it is the biggest icy body in the Kuiper Belt where it belongs to.

Where is Pluto?

Pluto is farther from the sun than any other planet in the Solar System. How far? 5.9 billion kilometers! Think about that distance and you will understand why Pluto’s temperature is always below zero.


While the other planets travel around the sun in a circular route, Pluto takes an oval-shaped movement. This means the sun appears to be a far heat star difficult to see. As a consequence, the temperature is always between -240 and -218 Celcius grades.

Is Pluto alone?

No, it has five moons around:Charon, Kerberos, Styx, Nix and Hydra. Because of their size, the scientist Mark R. Showalter said: “The moons form a series of a neatly nested orbits, a bit like Russian dolls.”

As Pluto’s name derives from a namesake given to Ades, the moons also received their name from mythological underworld figures.

If you lived in Pluto, you would not be able to look all the moons such as Charon, which can only be seen from just one side of the planet.

We previously mentioned that Pluto belongs to the Kuiper Belt in the outer Solar System.
There, you can find different kinds of asteroids and other dwarf planets like Haumea and Makemake (both smaller than Pluto).

Have we travelled to Pluto?

We as humans no but robots monitored by us, yes. In 2006 a mission from the NASA called New Horizons sent a spacecraft that finally arrived to Pluto in 2015.

The mission is still in progress and the objectives were to explore the Kuiper Belt as well as other trans neptunian objects and, identify the main characteristics of Pluto such as its morphology and the surface composition.

Thanks to this expedition, we now have some Pluto’s images since 2015 in which we can observe ice mountains, glaciers and the blue sky.

One of those photos is the following one in which we can see a blue ring formed as a result of the interaction among the sunlight,methane and other Pluto’s elements from the atmosphere.

It is important to mention that when Pluto moves away from the sun, that blue ring can not be seen because the atmosphere freezes again.

Another interesting discovery was that near Pluto’s South Pole, two mountains made of ice were found and it is believed that they used to be cryovolcanos.

The amazing information about that discovery is that those kind of volcanoes were completely different from the ones we already know. Why? Well,they throw ice instead of lava.

Other interesting facts about Pluto

It may sounds weird but Pluto rotates around the sun in a different direction from the rest of the planets we know. The orbital period lasts 248 years, 197 days and 5.5 hours in a speed of 4.7 kilometers per second. A day in Pluto is the equivalent of 6.39 Earth’s days.

Pluto’s surface and atmosphere are composed by methane, nitrogen ice and carbon monoxide. The combination of these elements produce the particular planet’s color which is a combination of charcoal black, dark orange and white.

To sum up, Pluto is a small but extraordinary planet with many qualities that deserve to be studied in the coming years. Meanwhile, follow this website to know more about what has
been already discovered.

Pluto is farther from the sun than any other planet in the Solar System. How far? 5.9 billion kilometers! Think about that distance and you will understand why Pluto’s temperature is always below zero.

Pluto is farther from the sun than any other planet in the Solar System. How far? 5.9 billion kilometers! Think about that distance and you will understand why Pluto’s temperature is always below zero. While the other planets travel around the sun in a circular route, Pluto takes an oval-shaped
movement. This means the sun appears to be a far heat star difficult to see. As a consequence, the temperature is always between -240 and -218 Celcius grades.

Is Pluto alone?

No, it has five moons around:Charon, Kerberos, Styx, Nix and Hydra. Because of their size, the scientist Mark R. Showalter said: “The moons form a series of a neatly nested orbits, a bit like Russian dolls.”

As Pluto’s name derives from a namesake given to Ades, the moons also received their name from mythological underworld figures.

If you lived in Pluto, you would not be able to look all the moons such as Charon, which can only be seen from just one side of the planet.

We previously mentioned that Pluto belongs to the Kuiper Belt in the outer Solar System.

There, you can find different kinds of asteroids and other dwarf planets like Haumea and Makemake (both smaller than Pluto).

Have we travelled to Pluto?

We as humans no but robots monitored by us, yes. In 2006 a mission from the NASA called New Horizons sent a spacecraft that finally arrived to Pluto in 2015.

The mission is still in progress and the objectives were to explore the Kuiper Belt as well as other trans neptunian objects and, identify the main characteristics of Pluto such as its morphology and the surface composition.

Thanks to this expedition, we now have some Pluto’s images since 2015 in which we can observe ice mountains, glaciers and the blue sky.

One of those photos is the following one in which we can see a blue ring formed as a result of the interaction among the sunlight,methane and other

Pluto’s elements from the
atmosphere.
It is important to mention that when Pluto moves away from the sun, that blue ring can not
be seen because the atmosphere freezes again.
Another interesting discovery was that near Pluto’s South Pole, two mountains made of ice
were found and it is believed that they used to be cryovolcanos.
The amazing information about that discovery is that those kind of volcanoes were
completely different from the ones we already know. Why? Well,they throw ice instead of
lava.
Other interesting facts about Pluto
It may sounds weird but Pluto rotates around the sun in a different direction from the rest of
the planets we know. The orbital period lasts 248 years, 197 days and 5.5 hours in a speed
of 4.7 kilometers per second. A day in Pluto is the equivalent of 6.39 Earth’s days.
Pluto’s surface and atmosphere are composed by methane, nitrogen ice and carbon
monoxide. The combination of these elements produce the particular planet’s color which is
a combination of charcoal black, dark orange and white.
To sum up, Pluto is a small but extraordinary planet with many qualities that deserve to be
studied in the coming years. Meanwhile, follow this website to know more about what has
been already discovered.

Pluto’s elements from the atmosphere.

It is important to mention that when Pluto moves away from the sun, that blue ring can not be seen because the atmosphere freezes again.

Another interesting discovery was that near Pluto’s South Pole, two mountains made of ice were found and it is believed that they used to be cryovolcanos.


The amazing information about that discovery is that those kind of volcanoes were completely different from the ones we already know. Why? Well,they throw ice instead of lava.

Other interesting facts about Pluto

It may sounds weird but Pluto rotates around the sun in a different direction from the rest of the planets we know. The orbital period lasts 248 years, 197 days and 5.5 hours in a speed of 4.7 kilometers per second. A day in Pluto is the equivalent of 6.39 Earth’s days.

Pluto’s surface and atmosphere are composed by methane, nitrogen ice and carbon monoxide. The combination of these elements produce the particular planet’s color which is a combination of charcoal black, dark orange and white.

To sum up, Pluto is a small but extraordinary planet with many qualities that deserve to be studied in the coming years. Meanwhile, follow this website to know more about what has been already discovered.