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News Release 33 of 181

December 16, 2009 01:00 PM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2009-33

Hubble Finds Smallest Kuiper Belt Object Ever Seen

December 16, 2009: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has discovered the smallest object ever seen in visible light in the Kuiper Belt, a vast ring of icy debris that is encircling the outer rim of the solar system just beyond Neptune.

The needle-in-a-haystack object found by Hubble is only 3,200 feet across and a whopping 4.2 billion miles away. The smallest Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) seen previously in reflected light is roughly 30 miles across, or 50 times larger.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

Science Credit: NASA, ESA, and H. Schlichting (Caltech)