the kuiper belt and the oort cloud

A flat belt of rock-and-ice objects stretches from just beyond the orbit of Neptune, out past Pluto, to a distance of 7.4 billion miles (12 billion km) from the Sun. The Kuiper belt, as it is known, is thought to consist of many thousands of these cometlike objects. At least one of these objects (the dwarf planet named Eris) is bigger than Pluto. The outer edge of the belt merges with the oort cloud. This is the vast sphere of comets that surrounds the solar system. It contains over a trillion comets, and its outer edge is 1.6 light-years away, not quite halfway to the closest stars. These comets are only seen when one leaves the cloud and travels toward the Sun.

the kuiper BELT

The Kuiper belt encircles the planetary region of the solar system. Most of its cometlike objects take more than 250 years to orbit the Sun. They are the main source of short-period comets. The small objects are difficult to see, but over 900 have been found so far.

the solar system

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