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Oort cloud

[awrt, ohrt]
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noun Astronomy.
  1. a region of the solar system far beyond the orbit of the dwarf planet Pluto in which billions of comets move in nearly circular orbits unless one is pulled into a highly eccentric elliptical orbit by a passing star.Compare Kuiper belt.
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Origin of Oort cloud

1975–80; after Dutch astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort (1900–1992), who proposed its existence
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Word Origin and History for oort cloud

Oort cloud

n.

in reference to the hypothetical cloud of small objects beyond Pluto that become comets, proposed 1949 by Dutch astronomer Jan Hendrick Oort (1900-1992), and named for him by 1968.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

oort cloud in Science

Oort cloud

[ôrt]
  1. A sphere-shaped mass of more than 100 billion comets that makes up the outer edge of the solar system, surrounding the Kuiper belt and the planets. Some comets from this area are drawn into the inner solar system by passing stars and other forces and take more than 200 years to make one complete orbit of the Sun. Compare Kuiper belt.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.