|Topics||Kuiper Belt, Meteoroids, Outer Planets, The Sun|
The Kuiper Belt is similar to the asteroid belt but much larger. Extending beyond the orbit of Neptune, it contains objects composed mostly of frozen methane, ammonia, and water. Most notably, the Kuiper Belt is home to Pluto, a dwarf planet that, until a 2006 reclassification, was considered the ninth planet of the solar system.
Smaller rocks shed by asteroids and comets are called meteoroids. When these rocks reach Earth's atmosphere, they burn up in the mesosphere and become meteors. If a meteor manages to reach the Earth, it is called a meteorite.
In contrast to the solid terrestrial planets, the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) consist of hydrogen and helium gas and water.
The Sun is a G-type main-sequence star (G2V) but is informally known as a yellow dwarf star. Composed of 73% hydrogen and 25% helium, the hot plasma that makes up the Sun reaches 9,900°F (5,505°C) at the surface. It formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago and makes up 99.86% of the mass in the solar system.