What’s out there in the Kuiper Belt?

A depiction of Sedna’s elliptical orbit.

Way, way out into the solar system past Neptune is the Kuiper Belt. It’s full of icy objects that range in size and shape that move slowly around the Sun. Dwarf planets Pluto and Eris, which are smaller than the Moon, are floating way out in the in the Kuiper Belt. The planetoid Sedna also exists in the Kuiper Belt. At 8 billion miles away, the view of the Sun from Sedna would be able to be blocked by the head of a pin. Since it’s so far away, it’s hard to determine things like surface temperature and exact size, but Sedna can be identified by its red color. Sedna has such an elliptical orbit, which is very different from the nearly circular orbits of the planets that come before the Kuiper belt. Sedna’s distance from the Sun ranges from 8 billion miles to 84 billion miles. Due to its orbit and its distance from the Sun, Sedna takes over 10,000 years to orbit the Sun one time. It’s crazy that there are Kuiper Belt Objects like Sedna that exist so far away from us that we do not know much about them. With more technology and more missions to the outskirts of the solar system, we will hopefully be able to learn more about these planetoids, dwarf planets, and icy objects.

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