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Difference Between Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud

Kuiper Belt vs Oort Cloud

The Kuiper cloud, which is more commonly known as Kuiper belt, is a disk-shaped region that is seen beyond Saturn’s orbit.

The Oort cloud is a mass of trillions of comets and dust that circle the sun. The Oort cloud is not really a cloud yet it extends three light years from the sun.

The Kuiper belt consists of millions of icy comets, although not asteroids, that circle the sun at a fast pace. While the Kuiper belt is disk shaped, the Oort cloud is spherical shaped.

Astronomer Gerard Peter Kuiper is credited with discovering what was later named the Kuiper cloud when he proposed in 1951 the existence of a disk-shaped area outside of Neptune’s orbit that was a source of short period comets. However, it was only in 1992 that the existence of such a region was identified.

The Oort cloud has been named after the Dutch astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort who, in 1950, had proposed that comets might have their origins in a cloud of material.

The origin of the Kuiper belt is a bit complicated and unclear. The Oort cloud is known to be a residue of the original protoplanetary disk that was formed around the sun about 4.6 million years ago. The Oort cloud’s objects are formed closer to the sun than the Kuiper belt objects. The objects in the Kuiper belt as well as the Oort cloud are comprised largely of methane, water, and ammonia. The Kuiper belt is also home to three dwarf planets, such as Pluto, Makemake, and Haumea.

The objects in the Oort cloud and Kuiper belt have many differences. The objects in the Oort cloud are disturbed by the stars and the sun whereas the objects in the Kuiper belt are not disturbed by the sun or stars.

Summary:

1.The Kuiper cloud, which is more commonly known as Kuiper belt, is seen beyond Saturn’s orbit.
2.The Oort cloud is a mass of trillions of comets and dust that circle the sun.
3.While the Kuiper belt is disk-shaped, the Oort cloud is spherical shaped.
4.Astronomer Gerard Peter Kuiper is credited with discovering what was later name the Kuiper cloud when he proposed in 1951 the existence of a disk-shaped area outside Neptune’s orbit that was a source of short period comets.
5.The Oort cloud has been named after the Dutch astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort who, in 1950, had proposed that comets might have their origins in a cloud of material.
The objects in the Oort cloud are disturbed by the stars and the sun whereas the objects in the Kuiper belt are not disturbed by the sun or stars.


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1 Comment

  1. I think you guys mean the Oort Cloud was formed around the sun 4.6 billion years ago, not 4.6 million years ago.

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