|Part of the Solar System|
The Kuiper belt is a region in the outer Solar System approximately 30-50 AU from the Sun. Like the asteroid belt, it consists of numerous small bodies, called trans-Neptunian objects (TNO’s). However, many of the contained objects have inclinations significantly deviating from 0°, resulting in an overall toroidal shape rather than a “belt”. In fact, some TNO’s (such as Pluto) actually come closer to Uranus in their orbits than Neptune.
In 1930, Pluto became the first discovery within this class of objects. A Pluto flyby will be conducted by the New Horizons probe in July 2015. Stay tuned! Much is still left to be discovered…