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Libby Thompson, Anna Bernard, Sophia Emmons

Oort Cloud Summary

An Oort Cloud is a collection of comets that orbit around the nuclei, debris from the start

of the universe. With in the cloud, the comets are tens of millions of kilometers apart. There are

so many comets, the Oort Cloud is about forty times the size of the earth. There is one cloud

close to us, located behind Pluto and goes around the solar system, orbiting away from the sun.

But don’t go trying to look for it, because you can’t see it with a naked eye. But scientists can

see it! It is the farthest thing that scientists can see in the universe. There are two regions of the

Oort Cloud, the inner and outer. The outer region consists of ice and water. The inner region is

shaped like a disc. Together, the cloud-like shape is formed. About 4.6 billion years ago, when

the earth originated, the Oort Cloud was formed. Want a perspective of how far away the Oort

Cloud is? It’s about one light year from the sun. But it hasn’t always been that far. It’s believed

that at one point, the Cloud was much closer to the sun than it is now. However, after 4.6 billion

years, it seemed to have moved. Sometimes, comets escape the orbit and fly into our solar

system, which is how we see most comets. But just because of this, it doesn’t mean that the Oort

Cloud will get any smaller. No, those couple of comets are nothing compared to the trillions

inside the cloud, including other debris that can be up to one kilometer in length! The objects in

the orbit aren’t set in stone, though. Any passing stars, for example can send the comets into our

solar system or off into the rest of the universe. Also effecting the orbit,, jets of gas and dust that

blast from the cold surface when they get close to the sun. Comets have initial orbits, though,

varying in time; sometimes more than a million years once an orbit. These orbits that we see are

brought into the inner part of the Cloud, where we are.