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Kuiper, Gerard Peter

satellite discovered comets exist

[kiy per] (1905–73) Dutch–US astronomer: discovered Miranda and Nereid.

Educated in Leiden, Kuiper moved to the USA in 1933. He discovered two new satellites: Miranda, the fifth satellite of Uranus, and Nereid, the second satellite of Neptune, in 1948 and 1949. He also studied the planetary atmospheres, detecting carbon dioxide on Mars and methane on Titan, the largest Saturnian satellite. Kuiper was involved with the early American space flights, including the Ranger and Mariner missions.

In the 1950s Kuiper predicted that a belt of debris, left after the formation of the Solar System, could exist beyond the most distant planet, Pluto. In 1988 it was suggested that this Kuiper belt could explain the origin of short-period comets such as which appear and return at intervals of a few years or decades; and in 1993 the first two such objects, a few score miles across and named 1992 QBI and 1993 FW, were discovered. By 2000 it was generally agreed that many thousands of these objects exist, as residues left over from the formation of the Solar System. Rock-like and ice-rich, they appear to have sizes up to a few hundred km, and to be the source of asteroids and of short-period comets. The planet Pluto may be a Kuiper object.

Kulin, Ayse (1941–) - PERSONAL HISTORY, INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS, BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS, PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:, KULIN’S WORDS, THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE, LEGACY [next] [back] Kroto, Sir Harold W

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