An image of the Oort Cloud.

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Oort Cloud

NASA's Voyager 1 is headed towards the Oort cloud. However, scientists believe that it will stop functioning in 2021.

The Oort Cloud can be described as a celestial layer of uncountable icy and sharp objects. Moreover, its extended shell is named after a Dutch astronomer called Jan Oort and an Estonian astronomer called Ernst Öpik. Both of the aforementioned astronauts theorized Oort Cloud’s properties.

Oort Cloud Comet C/2018 Y1 Iwamoto
Oort Cloud Comet C/2018 Y1 Iwamoto. Source: NASA

Following are ten fascinating facts you probably didn’t know about the Oort Cloud:

1) The Kuiper Belt and the Oort cloud are pretty far from the Sun:

The Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud are quite far from the Sun. Furthermore, scientists and experts believe that the Oort cloud is made up of the remnants of disc material that formed the Sun and the planets. Multiple astronomers from various organizations have inferred that the matter composing the Oort cloud was formed close to the Sun. However, it was dispersed into space by the gravity pull.

2) The Oort Cloud is a gigantic bubble of icy objects:

The Oort Cloud is said to be a massive spherical case enveloping the sun, planets and Kuiper Belt objects. It can be described as a thick bubble around our solar system, mainly made of icy, comet-like objects.

3) The Oort Cloud gets easily influenced by the gravitational pull:

The Oort Cloud gets affected by the gravitational pull from passing stars in our galaxy. Moreover, the outer boundary of the Oort cloud represents the cosmographical edge of the solar system.

4) The Oort Cloud is five times bigger than the Earth:

Scientists and experts theorize that the Oort cloud contains over several trillion objects that are larger than 1 km in diameter. Moreover, it contains over several billion objects that are about 20 km in diameter. The actual mass of the Oort cloud is still unknown, and most of the estimates are based upon the mass of Halley’s Comet.

5) The Oort Cloud is quite flexible:

As per various observations and theories, the Oort cloud is elongated from one side and compressed from the other. This has happened due to the tidal energies of the galactic gravitational field.

6) Stars pass through the Oort cloud every now and then:

The passing of nearby stars disturbs Oort Cloud’s formation. For example, the dim binary star moved through the Oort cloud approximately 70,000 years ago. Scientists estimate that one more star known as the Gliese 710 will displace a large number of comets in the Oort cloud in the next 10 million years.

7) The comets that come out of the Oort Cloud return to the solar system: 

Jan Oort noticed that multiple comets from the Oort cloud return to the solar system. However, the comets that return to the external solar system exceed the number of comets that return to the inner solar system. 

8) The Oort Cloud is made up of planetesimals:

When the planets of the Milky Way were formed about 4.6 billion years ago, the remnants of the planets remained in that particular region. The said objects or remnants are called planetesimals. The planetesimals formed the Oort Cloud because they accumulated in one place due to gravity pull.

9) NASA’s Voyager 1 is headed towards the Oort Cloud:

NASA’s Voyager 1 is headed towards the Oort cloud. However, scientists believe that it will stop functioning in 2021. Moreover, the Oort cloud is too far away and dim to be observed clearly.

10) The Oort Cloud is quite far from the sun:

The Oort Cloud is believed to be approximately 10.000 to 100.000 AU from the sun. Moreover, certain comets that come from the Oort cloud circle the Sun once every 200 years. 

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