Orbital resonances A diagram showing the major orbital resonances in the Kuiper belt caused by Neptune: the highlighted regions are the 2:3 resonance (plutinos), the nonresonant "classical belt" (cubewanos), and the 1:2 resonance ( twotinos ). Neptune's orbit has a profound impact on the region directly beyond it, known as the Kuiper belt. The Kuiper belt is a ring of small icy worlds, similar to the asteroid belt but far larger, extending from Neptune's orbit at 30 AU out to about 55 AU from the Sun.  Much in the same way that Jupiter's gravity dominates the asteroid belt , shaping its structure, so Neptune's gravity dominates the Kuiper belt . Over the age of the Solar System, certain regions of the Kuiper belt become destabilized by Neptune's gravity, creating gaps in the Kuiper belt's structure. The region between 40 and 42 AU is an example.  There do exist orbits within these empty regions where objects can survive for the age of the Solar System. These resonances occur when Neptune's orbital period is a precise fraction of that
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This note was uploaded on 12/15/2011 for the course AST AST1002 taught by Professor Emilyhoward during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.