An artist illustration of the Quaoar system in front of a background of white stars. Central in the figure sits a brownish planet. This is Quaoar, a dwarf planet in the outer Solar System. At a distance of about five times its radius sits a ring. This ring is made up out of small grey pieces of debris. At twice the distance of the ring, to the left of Quaoar, sits its moon Weywot. Weywot looks about a sixth the size of Quaoar but has the same brownish colour. To the right of this system, we see a bright star. This star is bigger than the background stars and represents the distant Sun

Solar System

Astronomers Discover Unexpected Ring around Distant Dwarf Planet 

There’s a strangely large-diameter ring around the outer solar system world Quaoar.

Farfarout object

Astronomy & Observing News

Planet-eating White Dwarfs, A Black Hole Cluster & The "Farfarout" Object

This week in astronomy news, astronomers found planet-eating white dwarfs, a cluster of black holes, and a "farfarout" object that's now the most distant known in the solar system.

Kuiper Belt Object

Solar System

Amateur Scopes Help Find Planet Formation’s Missing Link

A surprisingly inexpensive setup of amateur equipment is helping astronomers on their quest to find Kuiper Belt objects of every size to better understand how planets formed in our solar system.

Illustration of New Horizons flying by Ultima Thule

Space Missions

Planning the New Horizons Exploration of Ultima Thule

Alan Stern, principal investigator of NASA's New Horizons mission, gives a detailed preview of what the spacecraft will be doing in the days up to, during, and after the impending flyby of the Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69.

Illustration of New Horizons flying past 2014 MU69

Space Missions

New Horizons On Approach to the First Exploration of a Kuiper Belt Object

Take a look behind the scenes as the New Horizons team gears up for the historic first flyby of a body in the remote Kuiper Belt, in this first of a four-part series from the mission's Principal Investigator Alan Stern.

Illustration of Jupiter Trojans

Solar System

Trojan Asteroids Are in a Class of Their Own

Hordes of debris trapped by Jupiter and Neptune have distinct colors that mark them as possibly the last remnants of the material that built the giant planets.

Dwarf planets compared

Solar System

Dwarf Planet 2007 OR10: Big, Dark, and Slow

A Kuiper Belt object discovered nearly a decade ago turns out to be much darker — and thus larger — than thought. It's also an especially slow spinner.

Solar System

Targeting Crisis Averted for New Horizons

NASA scientists have found three potential Kuiper belt objects in the nick of time, saving the Pluto-bound probe from missing out on half of its mission.