34th Meeting of the AAS Division on Dynamical Astronomy, May 2003
12 Migration and Others
Oral, Wednesday, May 7, 2003, 10:50am-12:35pm,

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[12.04] Pushing Out the `Cold' Classical Kuiper Belt

H.F. Levison (SWRI), A. Morbidelli (Nice Obs.)

i One of the most puzzling problems about the Kuiper belt is how it lost its mass. Models of the growth of the large Kuiper belt objects show that there needed to be at least tens of Earth-masses of material in order for the objects we see to grow (e.g. Stern & Colwell 1997 Astrophy. J. 490, 879) and yet much less than a Earth-mass remains (e.g. Gladman et al. 2001 Astron. J., 122, 1051). There are significant problems with all of the mass depletion mechanisms thus far proposed. For example, the fact that fragile binary systems exist among the known Kuiper belt objects places so severe a constraint on this process that no mechanism has yet been successful.

Here, we present a new idea in which the all the Kuiper belt objects that we see have been pushed outward by the migration of Neptune. In particular, we propose that the original Kuiper belt was massive and had an outer edge someplace between 30 and 40\,AU. We present a mechanism by which some of the bodies in this massive disk were temporally captured in the 1:2 mean motion resonance with Neptune. During the outward migration of Neptune these objects were pushed outwards with the resonances only to be released at their current locations. As we will show, this new mechanism produces many of the characteristics of the observed Kuiper belt and is a natural byproduct of migration when the full dynamics is taken into account. This mechanism predicts that the 1:2 mean motion resonance with Neptune will be the outer edge of this population.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.