Is there a hard edge to the solar system? The question led to a big, breakthrough discovery that changed the way we picture the solar system - and every other solar system in the universe. The Kuiper Belt is a gigantic field of small, icy objects beyond Neptune, “planet scraps” left over from the formation of the planets. For many, many years, no one believed it might exist. Until astronomers Jane Luu and David Jewitt decided to see what was out there. In this episode, Jane Luu tells the story of how she helped discover the Kuiper Belt.
Want to learn more about the Kuiper Belt? Let's do it!
Here's a quick overview of the Kuiper Belt:
Jane Luu received the prestigious Kavli Prize for her role in discovering the Kuiper Belt. Here's her lecture, which takes the story she tells on Tumble into much greater depth and detail.
Why are small bodies or "worlds" so interesting? This video explains what they might be able to tell us about our solar system.
ARTICLES & WEBSITES
In this article, Jane's collaborator, Dr. David Jewitt, shares how he got the idea to search for small objects behind Neptune, and what the discovery means.
NASA shares the latest in Kuiper Belt news, including kid-friendly Kuiper Belt resources.
NASA's New Horizons Mission flew through the Kuiper Belt, giving us an up close view of those small, icy objects.
Here's a few of the largest objects in the Kuiper Belt:
KUIPER BELT RESEARCH
Many astronomers are fascinated by the Kuiper Belt. Here's what they're learning.