Have you ever wondered how they differ?
The Asteroid Belt, shown above, consists of hundreds of thousands of rocks, with all kinds of different shapes, ranging in size from the Dwarf Planet Ceres at 950 Km in Diameter, down to small bits the size of dust particles. It lies between Mars and Jupiter.
The Kuiper Belt (pronounced Kai-per) consists of Icy rocks, and it a major source of short-period Comets in the Solar system. Extending beyond the planet Neptune, Pluto was discovered to be one of the largest objects in the belt.
The mysterious Oort cloud is a collection of Comets, thought to extend far beyond the planets of the Solar System. ‘Cloud’ is a correct term, as the Oort comets are distributed spherically about the Sun, possibly extending as far as half way to the next star. The Oort orbits are not regular or planar like the Asteroid and Kuiper belts, and are often perturbed through gravitational interactions during their long journeys on highly eccentric orbits.
The belts and the Oort cloud show just how many rocks there are in the Solar System. The Planets may be the largest objects, but they are certainly not alone.