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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[49.03] The Size Distribution of Kuiper Belt Objects from a Deep HST/ACS Survey

G. M. Bernstein (University of Pennsylvania), R. L. Allen (University of British Columbia), M. E. Brown (Caltech), M. J. Holman (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), R. Malhotra (University of Arizona), D. E. Trilling (University of Pennsylvania)

The ACS camera aboard HST has been used to search 0.02 square degrees of the Invariable Plane for Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) as faint as 29.2 mag, corresponding to a diameter of ~5 km at 40 AU. An extrapolation of the N(m) relation at brighter magnitudes greatly overpredicts the number of actual detections in the ACS data, implying that the size distribution of KBOs does not follow a single power law, and that we have perhaps discovered a signature of erosion processes in the Kuiper Belt. A division of the KBO population from this and other surveys into ``Classical'' and ``Excited'' categories shows likely differences in the size distributions of the two classes. The turnover in the size distribution also now allows a fairly tight bound on the total mass of the Classical population.

This project is supported by STScI grants GO-9433.x.

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