Origins - Origins Plot of known Kuiper belt objects, set...

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Origins Plot of known Kuiper belt objects, set against the four gas giants . Pluto's origin and identity had long puzzled astronomers. One early hypothesis was that Pluto was an escaped moon of Neptune, knocked out of orbit by its largest current moon, Triton . This notion has been heavily criticised because Pluto never comes near Neptune in its orbit. [111] Pluto's true place in the Solar System began to reveal itself only in 1992, when astronomers began to find small icy objects beyond Neptune that were similar to Pluto not only in orbit but also in size and composition. This trans-Neptunian population is believed to be the source of many short-period comets . Astronomers now believe Pluto to be the largest [i] member of the Kuiper belt , a somewhat stable ring of objects located between 30 and 50 AU from the Sun. Like other Kuiper-belt objects (KBOs), Pluto shares features with comets ; for example, the solar wind is gradually blowing Pluto's surface into space, in the manner of a comet. [112]
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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.

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Origins - Origins Plot of known Kuiper belt objects, set...

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