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

[Previous] | [Session 49] | [Next]

[49.07] Discovery of transneptunian binaries with HST

K. S. Noll, D. Stephens (STScI), W. Grundy (Lowell Obs.), S. Tegler (NAU), W. Romanishin (U. Oklahoma), D. Cruikshank (NASA/Ames)

Over the last two years we have observed more than 130 unique transneptunian objects as part of a large optical and infrared survey using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). In the course of this work, we have discovered five new binary objects. Because of the unique combination of faintness and small angular size, seven of the ten known transneptunian binaries have been found with Hubble.

Several transneptunian binaries have now been observed at multiple epochs and it is possible to begin to constrain important orbital properties such as period and eccentricity. Ultimately, of course, the goal of directly measuring the mass of these objects is what makes them so valuable. The Hubble data also makes it possible to estimate the frequency of binaries within a uniform set of data. We estimate that 5% of TNOs have binary companions that are separted by more than 0.1 arcsec and are within 1 magnitude of the primary. We summarize our work including the most recent discoveries.

This research has been supported by programs 9060, 9386, and 9585, funded by NASA through a grant to STScI, operated by AURA under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.

[Previous] | [Session 49] | [Next]

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