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M. Kuchner (Caltech Astronomy Dept.)
Though most surveys for Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) are strongly biased against discovering objects with high orbital inclinations, ~ 15% of known classical KBOs appear to have orbital inclinations greater than 15\circ. We numerically integrated the orbits of 1100 particles in the region of the classical Kuiper Belt (42 AU \leq a \leq 47 AU) for 4 billion years to explore the role of dynamical instability in sculpting the inclination distribution of classical KBO orbits. The simulations show that in certain ranges of semi-major axis and eccentricity, dynamical intabilities preferentially deplete low-inclination objects, suggesting that long-term dynamical effects are part of the explanation for surprising fraction of observed KBOs with high orbital inclinations.
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