Kuiper Belt Objects

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The Kuiper belt stretches beyond the orbit of Neptune to an orbital distance of about 50 astronomical units from the Sun. The known objects in the Kuiper belt are icy bodies of up to about the size of Pluto, one of the biggest objects in the Kuiper belt. Centaurs are icy bodies that have escaped from the Kuiper belt by dynamical interaction with outer solar system bodies. This chapter describes the discoveries of Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) and Centaurs and our knowledge about their physical properties, mostly from telescope observations. The data include brightnes, albedo and chemistry, diameter and mass, and period of rotation. The New Horizons mission will fly by Pluto as the first KBO in 2015 and possibly other KBOs thereafter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of the Solar System
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780124158450
ISBN (Print)9780124160347
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Centaurs
  • Charon
  • KBO
  • KBO binaries
  • Kuiper Belt
  • New Horizons
  • Pluto

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • General Engineering


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