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Extrasolar Life
Stable resonances are evident in the distribution of small bodies in the outer solar system (above). The Neptune Trojans, objects
in a 1:1 resonance with that planet, orbit some 30 astronomical units from the Sun. Reaching farther out are the orbits of the Kuiper-belt objects, including Pluto and the many "plutinos" (which share a stabilizing 2:3 resonance with Neptune) and objects locked into 3:4 and 1:2 resonances. Some of the plutinos (pink points at left) and other
Kuiper-belt objects (white) are currently located within the orbit of Neptune. Transient comets and scattered Kuiper-belt objects are not shown for clarity. (Plan view courtesy of the Minor Planet Center.)
01/14/09

 



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