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Relationship of the Kuiper Belt to the Oort Cloud

Target Name:  Kuiper Belt, Oort Cloud
Produced by:  NASA and A. Feild (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Copyright: NASA Copyright Free Policy
Cross Reference:  STScI-PR02-04
Date Released: 17 April 2002

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This illustration shows that the Kuiper Belt is shaped like a disk [see inset diagram] and resides within the shell-like structure of the Oort Cloud. Located on the outskirts of the solar system, the Kuiper Belt is a "junkyard" of countless icy bodies left over from the solar system's formation. The Oort Cloud is a vast shell of billions of comets. The inset diagram compares Pluto's orbit with a Kuiper Belt binary object called 1998 WW31. The Kuiper Belt [the fuzzy disk] extends from inside Pluto's orbit to the edge of the solar system.

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