Oort Cloud - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Space Sciences

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 3 pages of information about Oort Cloud.
This section contains 768 words
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Oort Cloud

The Oort cloud is a vast swarm of some 2 trillion comets orbiting our star in the most distant reaches of our solar system, extending from beyond the orbits of Neptune and Pluto out to 100,000 times the Earth-Sun distance—nearly one-third the distance to the nearest star. While the planets are confined to a flattened disk in the solar system, the Oort cloud forms a spherical shell centered on the Sun, which gradually flattens down to an extended disk in the inner region, called the Kuiper belt. Bright comets observed through telescopes or with the unaided eye get perturbed out of the Oort cloud or Kuiper belt, and become visible when they get close to enough so that the Sun's energy can transform the surface ices into gases. These gases drag off the embedded dust, and we see the light reflected from the dust as a...

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This section contains 768 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Oort Cloud Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan Science Library: Space Sciences
Oort Cloud from Macmillan Science Library: Space Sciences. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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