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Color Patterns in the Kuiper Belt: A Possible Primordial Origin

Tegler, S. C. and Romanishin, W. and G. J. Consolmagno, S. J. (2003) Color Patterns in the Kuiper Belt: A Possible Primordial Origin. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 599 (1). L49-L52. ISSN 1538-4357

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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/381076

Abstract

As a result of our continuing photometric survey, we report here optical colors for 36 Kuiper Belt objects, increasing our sample size to 91 objects. We find that certain dynamical classes of objects exhibit distinctive colors—21 out of 21 objects on small-inclination and small-eccentricity orbits with perihelion distances larger than 40 AU exhibit red surface colors (B-R > 1.5), while 17 out of 20 objects on large-inclination and large-eccentricity orbits with aphelion distances larger than 70 AU exhibit gray surface colors (B-R < 1.5). Our observations are consistent with a primordial origin for Kuiper Belt surface colors, if we assume that gray objects formed closer to the Sun than red objects, and as Neptune migrated outward it scattered gray objects onto dynamically hot orbits. By this model, the contrasting dynamically cold and red objects beyond 40 AU remained far enough away from Neptune that they were never perturbed by the planet.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: Copyright 2003. The American Astronomical Society
ID number or DOI: 10.1086/381076
Keywords: diversity; inclination; KUIPER belt; PHOTOMETRY; populations; solar system : formation; techniques : photometric; TRANS-Neptunian objects
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > Physics and Astronomy
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2016 21:13
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/1841

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