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News Release Archive:

News Release 523 of 948

April 17, 2002 02:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2002-04

Hubble Hunts Down Binary Objects at the Fringe of Our Solar System

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Image: Relationship of the Kuiper Belt to the Oort Cloud

Relationship of the Kuiper Belt to the Oort Cloud Artist's Concept

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

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.

Object Name: 1998 WW31

Image Type: Illustration

Credit: NASA and A. Feild (Space Telescope Science Institute)

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