The Sun
2003 UB313
K.B.O.s - Kuiper Belt Objects in orbit outside Neptune
K.B.O stands for Kuiper Belt Objects. Named after the man who originally theorized that a field of smaller orbiting objects existed outside of Neptune, and his theory has since been proven correct.

There are now 432 known objects outside of Neptune, but most are smaller than Pluto. Pluto itself is a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) but the long standing belief that Pluto is a planet has seen rise to the definition of a planet as being anything orbiting the sun that is larger than Pluto. With this definition in place the discovery of 2003 UB313 has caused quite a stir in the scientific community as it has been proven to be larger than Pluto.

Discoveries in this unknown region of our own solar system have caused us to ask some important questions. How do we define what a planet is? Where do planets stop, and Kuiper Belt Objects begin? What if we find even larger objects orbiting the sun in the Inner Ort Cloud like the planetoid called Sedna that orbits the sun every 10,000 years or so? How long will we be making discoveries in this region of space if it takes objects hundreds of years, if not thousands to come into view?

The problem discovering objects in this little known region of space is that the cold temperatures keep most of these objects from having any kind of protective atmosphere and exposure to sunlight or cosmic rays darkens the surface of these planetoids. This makes them hard to see against the dark sky, but they are often still reflective enough to be seen from earth, or from one of our orbiting satellites. Size is probably one of the most important factors that contributes toward the objects discovery; the larger the object means more reflective it will appear from earth, and the more likely it is to be discovered.

Discuss the KBOs in our forums: Kuiper Belt Objects


KBO Statistics Table:
    Things to keep in mind:
  • 1 A.U. is the distance from the Earth to the Sun, or 93 million miles ( 149.6 million km )
  • Planets have elliptical orbits, and distances given are the average distance from the sun.
  • Measurements given in earth terms. If read "days" or "years," earth days and earth years are implied
Date of Discovery ...
Average Distance from the Sun ...
Equatorial Radius ...
Equatorial Circumference ...
Density ...
Surface Area ...
Gravity ...
Rotation Period (Length of Day) ...
Orbit Period (Length of Year) ...
Orbital Velocity (avg) ...
Orbital Circumference ...
Min/Max Surface Temperature ...

Article written by IceCreamTruck and was compiled after extensive reading and study. This article is formatted to include information that isn't obvious from looking at most facts and figures sheets. Exact figures about these objects courtesy of JPL NASA and have been shortened to include only the most useful information. Please visit NASA's website for further detailed information on these objects NASA K.B.O.s Pages

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