What is the difference between the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud?

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May 17, 2016


The Oort Cloud is much further away than the Kuiper Belt.


The Kuiper Belt is a disc of objects beyond the orbit of Neptune which is between 30 Astronomical Units (AU) and 50AU from the Sun. It consists of remnants of the material from which the solar system was formed.


Many of the Kuiper Belt objects are frozen volatile substances called ices. There are solid bodies in the belt including several dwarf planets of which Pluto is one.

It is thought that some of the moons of the outer planets were originally from the Kuiper Belt.

The Oort Cloud is a hypothetical region of icy bodies. It is thought to extend from between 2,000AU to 50,000AU. Some believe it extends as far as 200,000, which is over half way to the nearest star Proxima Centauri.


Short term comets with orbital periods of less than 200 years are thought to originate from the Kuiper Belt. Long term comets are thought to originate from the Oort Cloud.

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