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Kuiper belt

[kahy-per] /ˈkaɪ pər/
noun, Astronomy
1.
a disk-shaped region on the edge of the solar system that contains masses of ice and icy rock, believed to be the source of comets with orbital periods of less than 200 years.
Compare Oort cloud.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for Kuiper belt

Kuiper belt

/ˈkaɪpə/
noun
1.
a region of the solar system beyond the orbit of Neptune, some 30–1000 astronomical units from the sun, containing up to one thousand million icy planetesimals or comet nuclei See also Oort
Word Origin
C20: named after G. P. Kuiper (1905–73), Dutch American astronomer, who proposed it in 1951
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for Kuiper belt
noun

an area of the solar system outside of Neptune's orbit, which is believed to contain asteroids, comets, and icy bodies; also called Edgeworth belt , Edgeworth-Kuiper belt

Examples

The Kuiper belt is the likely source for many short-period comets, like Halley's comet.

Word Origin

for Gerard P. Kuiper, Dutch-American astronomer

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Kuiper belt in Science
Kuiper belt
  (kī'pər)   
A disk-shaped region in the outer solar system lying beyond the orbit of Neptune and containing thousands of small, icy celestial bodies. It is believed to be a reservoir for short-period comets (comets that make one complete orbit of the Sun in less than 200 years). The Kuiper belt is named after American astronomer Gerard Kuiper (1905-1973), who first predicted its existence. ◇ The bodies populating this region are known as Kuiper belt objects, and unlike the bodies in the Oort cloud they are believed to have orginated in situ. There are an estimated 70,000 such objects having diameters of more than 100 km (62 mi). Pluto, which is traditionally classed with the planets, together with its moon Charon, are found in this region and are thought by some astronomers to be large Kuiper belt objects. Compare Oort cloud.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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