News Release Archive:

News Release 613 of 1051

October 7, 2002 12:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2002-17

Hubble Spots an Icy World Far Beyond Pluto


Image: Artist's View of Kuiper Belt Object "Quaoar"

Artist's View of Kuiper Belt Object "Quaoar"STScI-PRC2002-17a Artist's Concept

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This is an artist's impression of the icy Kuiper belt object 2002 LM60, dubbed "Quaoar" by its discoverers. With the help of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have determined that Quaoar (pronounced kwa-whar) is the largest body found in the solar system since the discovery of Pluto 72 years ago. Quaoar is about 800 miles (1300 kilometers) in diameter and is about half the size of Pluto. Like Pluto, Quaoar dwells in the Kuiper belt, an icy debris field of comet-like bodies extending 7 billion miles beyond Neptune's orbit. Quaoar is the farthest object in the solar system ever to be resolved by a telescope. It is about 4 billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) from Earth, more than 1 billion miles farther than Pluto.

Object Names: 2002 LM60, Quaoar

Image Type: Artwork

Illustration Credit: NASA and G. Bacon (STScI)

Science Credit: NASA and M. Brown (Caltech)


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