DPS Pasadena Meeting 2000, 23-27 October 2000
Session 19. Trojans, Centaurs, Kuiper Belt Objects - I
Oral, Chairs: O. Hainaut, M. Brown, Tuesday, 2000/10/24, 11:10am-12:10pm, C106

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[19.04] The Centaur Population

S.S. Sheppard, D.C. Jewitt, C.A. Trujillo (Univ. Hawaii), M.J.I. Brown (Univ. Melbourne), M.C.B. Ashley (Univ. New South Wales)

Centaurs are small bodies in the Solar System which have dynamically unstable orbits between the gas giant planets. They are thought to be in transition from the Kuiper Belt to the short period comets. We conducted a wide-field CCD survey for Centaurs and other slow moving objects at the Automated Patrol Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia during early 1999. We used this and other survey results to analyze the Centaur population through a Monte Carlo simulation. The size distribution is consistent with a q~4 differential power law, similar to the size distribution of the parent Kuiper Belt Objects. The Centaur population is of order 1\times 107 (radius \geq 1 km) assuming a geometric albedo of 0.04. About 100 Centaurs are larger than 50 km in radius, of which only 4 are presently known. The current total mass of the Centaurs is about 10-4 M\oplus. Full results of this work are given in a paper now in press at The Astronomical Journal.

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The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: sheppard@ifa.hawaii.edu

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