Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, Ricardo Amils, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII, William M. Irvine, Daniele L. Pinti, Michel Viso

Solar System, Outer

  • William IrvineEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-11274-4_4012


The informal phrase “outer Solar System” normally refers to the region of the  giant planets and beyond, corresponding to distances from the Sun ≥ 5 AU. The outer Solar system thus also includes almost all  comets during most of their orbital periods, as well as  Centaurs and objects in the  Kuiper Belt. As a result of the low temperatures in this region, solid objects contain a much higher percentage of volatiles such as water and other ices than the rocky objects closer to the Sun.

See also

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Goddard Center for Astrobiology and Astronomy DepartmentUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA