Trans-Neptunian object

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Post by chickengold92 on Sat Nov 13, 2010 11:42 pm

A trans-Neptunian object (TNO; also written transneptunian object) is any minor planet in the Solar System that orbits the Sun at a greater distance on average than Neptune. The Kuiper belt, scattered disk, and Oort cloud are three divisions of this volume of space.[1]

The first trans-Neptunian object to be discovered was Pluto in 1930. It took more than 60 years to discover, in 1992, a second trans-Neptunian object, (15760) 1992 QB1, with only the discovery of Pluto's moon Charon before that in 1978. Since then however, over 1,000 trans-Neptunian objects have been discovered, differing in sizes, orbits, and surface composition. 198 of these (as of November, 2009) have their orbit well enough determined that they are given a permanent minor planet designation.[2][3]

The largest known trans-Neptunian object is Eris (discovered in 2005), followed by Pluto, Makemake and Haumea.

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