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How Many Asteroids Are Locked Up in the Kuiper Belt?

At least 70,000 trans-Neptunian objects exist with diameters larger than 60 miles (100km).
DistantSunCopy
DISTANT SUN. An artist’s impression of noontime on Sedna, the most distant minor planet from the Sun, shows distant, feeble rays from our star. Sedna’s body temperature is –400° F on this airless, frozen world. 
NASA/ESA/Adolf Schaller

In 1930, American astronomer Frederick C. Leonard proposed the existence of a band of small bodies in the solar system that extends from Neptune’s orbit to a diameter of about 50 astronomical units (AU). Leonard based this hypothesis on models of solar-system formation and on orbital dynamics of the outer planets. Nearly a decade later, Dutch-American astronomer Gerard Kuiper (1905–1973) published research on the proposed belt and suggested it was the source of many short-period comets. During the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, researchers searched for Leonard’s outer solar system belt but found nothing.

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