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Unbiased inclination distributions for objects in the Kuiper Belt

Gulbis, A. A. S. and Elliot, J. L. and Adams, E. R. and Benecchi, S. D. and Buie, M. W. and Trilling, D. E. and Wasserman, L. H. (2010) Unbiased inclination distributions for objects in the Kuiper Belt. Astronomical Journal, 140 (2). pp. 350-369. ISSN 1538-3881

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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0004-6256/140/2/350


Using data from the Deep Ecliptic Survey (DES), we investigate the inclination distributions of objects in the Kuiper Belt. We present a derivation for observational bias removal and use this procedure to generate unbiased inclination distributions for Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) of different DES dynamical classes, with respect to the Kuiper Belt plane. Consistent with previous results, we find that the inclination distribution for all DES KBOs is well fit by the sum of two Gaussians, or a Gaussian plus a generalized Lorentzian, multiplied by sin i. Approximately 80% of KBOs are in the high-inclination grouping. We find that Classical object inclinations are well fit by sin i multiplied by the sum of two Gaussians, with roughly even distribution between Gaussians of widths 2.0(-0.5)(+0.6)degrees and 8.1(-2.1)(+2.6)degrees. Objects in different resonances exhibit different inclination distributions. The inclinations of Scattered objects are bestmatched by sin i multiplied by a single Gaussian that is centered at 19.1(-3.6)(+3.9)degrees with a width of 6.9(-2.7)(+4.1)degrees. Centaur inclinations peak just below 20 degrees, with one exceptionally high- inclination object near 80 degrees. The currently observed inclination distribution of the Centaurs is not dissimilar to that of the Scattered Extended KBOs and Jupiter-family comets, but is significantly different from the Classical and Resonant KBOs. While the sample sizes of some dynamical classes are still small, these results should begin to serve as a critical diagnostic for models of solar system evolution.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: © 2010. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
ID number or DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/140/2/350
Keywords: asteroids: general; centaurs; comets: general; deep ecliptic survey; eso large program; halley-type comets; jupiter-family comets; Kuiper belt: general; Minor Planets; oort cloud; origin; scattered disk; short-period comets; solar-system; surveys
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > Physics and Astronomy
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2015 16:28
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/363

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