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The Oort Cloud: Crash Course Astronomy #22

Now that we’re done with the planets, asteroid belt, and comets, we’re heading to the outskirts of the solar system. Out past Neptune are vast reservoirs of icy bodies that can become comets if they get poked into the inner solar system. The Kuiper Belt is a donut shape aligned with the plane of the solar system; the scattered disk is more eccentric and is the source of short period comets; and the Oort Cloud which surrounds the solar system out to great distances is the source of long-period comets. These bodies all probably formed closer into the Sun, and got flung out to the solar system’s suburbs by gravitational interactions with the outer planets.

Table of Contents
Icy Bodies That Can Become Comets 0:27
The Kuiper Belt is a Donut Shape Aligned With the Plane of the Solar System 2:57
The Scattered Disk is More Eccentric and the Source of Short Period Comets 4:26
Oort Cloud Surrounds Our Solar System and is the Source of Long-Period Comets 4:04
These Bodies Probably Formed Near the Sun and Dispersed Through Gravitational Interactions 5:41

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HD Long Exposure Star Timelapse [credit: Jeffrey Beach, Beachfront B-Roll]
Fine Structure in the Comet’s Jets [credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA]
Artist’s impression of a protoplanetary disk. [credit: ESO/L. Calçada – ESO]
Creating Gas Giants [credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center]
What is a Sungrazing Comet? [credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center]
Pluto/Neptune Orbit [credit: NASA]
1992 QB1 [credit: ESO]
Eris [credit: W. M. Keck Observatory]
Moons of Pluto [credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI institute)]
New Horizons Approach [credit: JHUAPL]
Moon [credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio]
Pluto [credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute]
Sedna’s Orbit [credit: NASA]
Artist’s Conception of Kuiper Belt [credit: NASA, Wikimedia Commons]
Kuiper Belt World (video) [credit: NASA Kepler Mission/Dana Berry]
Pluto Discovery Plates [credit: Clyde Tombaugh, Lowell Observatory]