ice dwarfs

ice dwarfs

Large distant interplanetary objects that exceed the size of a normal cometary nucleus and are much icier than an ordinary asteroid. The composition of asteroids varies somewhat as a function of distance from the Sun, so that the more distant Hildas and Trojans will certainly contain more icelike material than the main-belt asteroids. However, the vast majority of ice dwarfs are probably to be found in the Kuiper belt and beyond. Pluto, though traditionally considered a planet, is now regarded as among the largest icy dwarfs, along with other Kuiper belt objects and trans-Neptunian objects. Chiron and Pholus may also be placed in this category.
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An unusual division offers Mercury and Venus in HOT PLANETS (0778737357), Jupiter and Saturn in MIGHTY MEGAPLANETS (0778737373), Pluto and beyond in ICE DWARFS (0778737365) and Neptune and Uranus in GAS GIANTS (0778737349), comparing the properties of similar planets in our solar system and providing vivid, eye-catching covers and color photos throughout in these whirlwind tours of our solar system.
You have the four rocky planets, including the Earth, the gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn, and then you've got ice dwarfs which would include Pluto and other large Kuiper Belt objects.
STern, Levision and other researchers calculate that the vast majority of the ice dwarfs would probably inhabit the Oort cloud, the more distant of the two sites.
Scanning the heavens with highly sensitive, widefield infrared telescopes should prove more fruitful, says Levison, because the ice dwarfs would reflect heat (infrared energy) more readily than visible light.
Stern calculates that a few of the ice dwarfs formed between Uranus and Neptune might have been ejected by gravity into the inner solar system.
A thorough examination of these disks, including their size and density, may one day indicate whether they contain ice dwarfs.
Stern's model suggest Pluto and its satellite Charon may in fact represent rare fossils: ice dwarfs no different from some 1,000 or so others in the solar system, except for their placement -- a dynamical niche much nearer the sun.
Several observational techniques, some more promising than others, might reveal an ice dwarf lurking here, he says.