DPS 34th Meeting, October 2002
Session 25. Prize Lectures
Invited, Chair(s): W. Huntress, Wednesday, October 9, 2002, 2:20-4:20pm, Ballroom

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[25.02] Opening Pandora's Box: The Discovery of New Irregular Satellites of the Giant Planets

B.J. Gladman (Obs. de Nice and U. British Columbia)

Advances in the power of wide-field imaging CCD mosaics along with the necessary advances in computer power to deal with large volumes of digital imaging data have allowed new opportunities to explore the outer reaches of our Solar System. The discovery of the Kuiper Belt is an example of such a new horizon, and the new ability to peer into the dark environs of the giant planets is another. Since 1997, dozens of new irregular satellites of the giant planets have been discovered. Their orbital and physical properties offer new clues to the processes that were occurring as the giant planets underwent the final stages of their formation. In particular, the orbits of these satellites show strong grouping indicative of a collisional origin for most of these bodies, although the mechanism by which they were originally captured is unclear. This talk will review the progress made to date in the discovery and study of these satellites, explore the implications of these discoveries, and discuss future prospects in this area.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.