DPS 34th Meeting, October 2002
Session 9. Centaurs and Kuiper Belt Objects II
Oral, Chair(s): D. Jewitt and R. Millis, Monday, October 7, 2002, 4:30-6:00pm, Ballroom

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[9.09] Dynamics of the Binary KBO 1998 WW31 and Predictions of Mutual Eclipses

C. Veillet (Canada France Hawaii Telescope), I.P. Griffin (STScI), J.Wm. Parker (Southwest Research Inst.)

The 1998 WW31 system is the first discovered double TNO beside the Pluto/Charon pair. Using our ground-based and 2001/2002 opposition HST observations, we previously determined that 1998 WW31 has a long orbital period (570 days) and an extremely high eccentricity (0.8; the highest eccentricity of any known solar system satellite or binary system). Now in this paper we report a new orbital analysis of the pair using the first HST images of the 2002/2003 opposition, and also include improved relative photometry of the two components highlighting their derived physical properties. Based on our new data, the basic dynamic characteristics of the pair are nicely confirmed. With the uncertainty on the orbital elements decreasing dramatically, we are now able to better predict the season of mutual eclipses that will be seen from the Earth. We will present this first analysis of the mutual event period, together with the various sources of uncertainty in the eclipse predictions in the case of a pair with such a long period.

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