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J. L. Elliot, S. D. Kern (MIT), R. L. Millis, M. W. Buie, L. H. Wasserman (Lowell Observatory), R. M. Wagner (Large Binocular Telescope Observatory)
One reason to expect a trans-Neptunian disk population as the source of the short period comets is that the orbits of the short period comets have small inclinations compared with the distribution of orbital inclinations that would be expected from an Oort-cloud source (Duncan, Quinn & Tremaine, 1988, ApJL 328, L69). Hence one of the objectives of our deep ecliptic survey with the Mosaic cameras at KPNO and CTIO (Millis et al., this conference) is the determination of the inclination distribution for Kuiper Belt Objects, in order to compare it with that of the short period comets. Although most of our survey has occurred within a few degrees of the ecliptic, orbits of all inclinations pass through this region. We have confirmed discoveries of KBOs with a variety of inclinations (the greatest being 31 degrees), and confirmed discoveries of KBOs by others with inclinations as high as 40 degrees have been reported to the Minor Planet Center. A body in an orbit of high inclination, of course, spends a small fraction of its period near the ecliptic, but this observational bias can be removed. We shall present the unbiased orbital-inclination distribution for the KBOs discovered by our survey. This work has been supported, in part, by NASA Grants NAG5-8990 to Lowell Observatory, and NAG5-3940 to MIT.