A possible divot in the size distribution of the Kuiper Belt's scattering objects

Download
  1. Get@NRC: A possible divot in the size distribution of the Kuiper Belt's scattering objects (Opens in a new window)
DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1088/2041-8205/764/1/L2
AuthorSearch for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for: ; Search for:
TypeArticle
Journal titleThe Astrophysical Journal Letters
ISSN2041-8205
Volume764
Issue1
Article numberL2
AbstractVia joint analysis of a calibrated telescopic survey, which found scattering Kuiper Belt objects, and models of their expected orbital distribution, we explore the scattering-object (SO) size distribution. Although for D > 100 km the number of objects quickly rise as diameters decrease, we find a relative lack of smaller objects, ruling out a single power law at greater than 99% confidence. After studying traditional "knees" in the size distribution, we explore other formulations and find that, surprisingly, our analysis is consistent with a very sudden decrease (a divot) in the number distribution as diameters decrease below 100 km, which then rises again as a power law. Motivated by other dynamically hot populations and the Centaurs, we argue for a divot size distribution where the number of smaller objects rises again as expected via collisional equilibrium. Extrapolation yields enough kilometer-scale SOs to supply the nearby Jupiter-family comets. Our interpretation is that this divot feature is a preserved relic of the size distribution made by planetesimal formation, now "frozen in" to portions of the Kuiper Belt sharing a "hot" orbital inclination distribution, explaining several puzzles in Kuiper Belt science. Additionally, we show that to match today's SO inclination distribution, the supply source that was scattered outward must have already been vertically heated to the of order 10°.
Publication date
PublisherIOP Publishing
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21270581
Export citationExport as RIS
Report a correctionReport a correction
Record identifierdae4af3b-4333-480e-bc0d-e3c323aa02f1
Record created2014-02-17
Record modified2016-07-18
Bookmark and share
  • Share this page with Facebook (Opens in a new window)
  • Share this page with Twitter (Opens in a new window)
  • Share this page with Google+ (Opens in a new window)
  • Share this page with Delicious (Opens in a new window)