MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Exploded diagram showing the Solar System and the Oort cloud of comets that surrounds it. The inner Solar System (top left) extends out to the asteroid belt. Beyond this (bottom left) is the realm of the gas giant planets and then the Kuiper Belt - a thick donut of icy bodies on the edge of the Solar System. Finally the Solar System is embedded within the Oort cloud (right). Its exact extent is not know, but it could stretch as far as 50, 000 astronomical units from the Sun - almost one light-year.
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