Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Object Found in Outer Space: Oort Cloud- Spherical Cloud of Comets

Bigoort_2The Oort Cloud is a spherical cloud of comets believed to lie roughly 50,000 AU, or nearly a light-year, from the Sun which places the cloud at nearly a quarter of the distance to Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Sun. The Kuiper belt and scattered disc, the other two known reservoirs of trans-Neptunian objects, are less than one thousandth the Oort cloud's distance. The outer extent of the Oort cloud defines the boundary of our Solar System.

Objects in the Oort cloud are largely composed of ices such as water, ammonia and methane. Astronomers believe that the matter comprising the Oort cloud formed closer to the Sun, and was scattered far out into space by the gravitational effects of the giant planets early in the Solar System's evolution.

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