DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 49. KBO and Centaurs I
Oral, Chairs: M. Buie and S. A. Stern, Saturday, September 6, 2003, 3:30-5:40pm, DeAnza III

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[49.02] The Emerging Dynamical Structure of the Trans-Neptunian Region: Deep Ecliptic Survey Results

M.W. Buie, R.L. Millis, L.H. Wasserman (Lowell Observatory), J.L. Elliot, S.D. Kern, K. Clancy (MIT), E.I. Chiang, A.B. Jordan (UC Berkeley), K.J. Meech (U. Hawaii), R.M. Wagner (LBT), D.E. Trilling (U Penn)

The Deep Ecliptic Survey (DES) is a NOAO survey project to search the near-ecliptic region of the outer solar system for slow-moving objects. This ongoing survey is based on data taken with the Mosaic cameras at Kitt Peak and Cerro Tololo since 1998.

Our sample size now contains enough objects with high-quality orbits to permit developing a consistent dynamical picture of the outer solar system. In the past year, we have created a system that automatically maintains a database of dynamical classifications. The classification scheme is grounded in dynamics and discussions in the refereed literature. We divide slow-moving objects into the following types (in the order tested): Resonant, Centaur, Classical, Scattered-Near, Scattered-Extended, and Unknown.

Each classification is based on a 3 My integration of the object's motion and is considered secure when the nominal orbit and two clones that deviate by 3-sigma from the nominal orbit yield the same answer. Resonant objects exhibit libration of one or more arguments that characterize mean-motion resonance with Neptune. A total of 104 arguments are tested for libration; librating arguments are recorded. Centaurs are non-resonant objects that cross the orbits of any of the planets at any time during the integration. Classical objects are non-resonant objects whose Tisserand parameters, defined with respect to Neptune and averaged over the duration of the integration, exceed 3 in natural units and whose mean eccentricities are less than 0.2. Scattered-Extended objects have Tisserand parameters that exceed 3 and eccentricities greater than 0.2. Scattered-Near objects have Tisserand parameters less than 3. Unknown objects are those whose orbit uncertainties are so great that the 3-sigma clone orbits are unphysical.

We will present our picture of the dynamical structure of the trans-Neptunian region based on these orbit classification results and summarize their dynamical implications. The survey team is supported by grants from NASA, NSF, and AAS.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.lowell.edu/Research/DES. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

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