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K

K-band

A band of radio frequencies extending from 10 900 to 36 000 MHz.

Kelvin

The Kelvin (K) is the unit of the absolute temperature scale, in which the temperature of the triple point of water (the temperature at which water can exist simultaneously in solid, liquid and gaseous form) assumes the value of 273.16 K. Kelvin can be converted to degrees Celsius by subtracting 273.15.

Kourou

Coastal town of French Guiana, just north of the Equator, where France created a launch site in 1964. Since 1977, the site has been exclusively devoted to the Ariane launchers, developed by the European Space Agency and commercially operated by Arianespace.

Kuiper Belt

Spherical region of the outer Solar System populated by numerous `ice dwarfs', otherwise known as Kuiper Belt Objects or trans-Neptunian objects. Several hundred of these have so far been discovered. The planet Pluto appears to be the largest of these objects. The belt seems to occur at 30 - 150 AU from the Sun and is believed to be the source of short-period comets. Named after Dutch-American astronomer Gerard Kuiper who predicted its existence. Also known as the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt, in recognition of the work of another (Irish) scientist, Kenneth Edgeworth.

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