36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 3 Kuiper Belt I: Observations
Oral, Monday, November 8, 2004, 10:30am-12:noon, Clark

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[3.06] New Results from the Deep Ecliptic Survey: Dynamical Classification, the Kuiper-Belt Plane, and the Core Population

J. L. Elliot, S. D. Kern, K. B. Clancy, A. A. S. Gulbis (MIT), R. L. Millis, M. W. Buie, L. H. Wasserman (Lowell), E. I. Chiang (U. C. Berkeley), A. B. Jordan (U. of Colorado), D. E. Trilling (U. of Arizona), K. J. Meech (IfA/UH)

Building on the initial results reported by Millis et al. (Astron. J. 123, 2083, 2002), 550 deg2 near the ecliptic have been searched by the Deep Ecliptic Survey (DES) since its inception through the end of 2003. During this period, 622 Kuiper belt objects and Centaurs have been discovered, of which 382 have provisional designations from the Minor Planet Center. We have dynamically classified these objects based on the behavior of orbital integrations over 10 Myr. The dynamical classes, in order of testing, are: ``Resonant," ``Centaur," ``Scattered-Near," ``Scattered-Extended," and ``Classical." Of the designated KBOs discovered by the DES, 196 objects have sufficiently accurate orbits for dynamical classification. Uncorrected for observational bias, the classified DES objects are as follows: Classical, 96; Resonant, 54; Scattered-Near, 24; Scattered-Extended, 9; and Centaur, 13. We have determined the Kuiper-belt plane for several subsets of objects. The Classical objects with inclinations less than 5o from the mean orbit pole yield a pole at (J2000) RA = 273.92 ± 0.62o and DEC = 66.70 ± 0.20o, consistent with the invariable plane of the solar system (and contrary to the results of Brown and Pan, Astron. J. 127, 418, 2004). Our inclination distribution confirms the presence of ``hot" and ``cold" populations; when the geometrical sini factor is removed from the inclination distribution function, the cold population shows a concentrated ``core," with a full-width at half maximum of ~4.6o, while the hot population appears as a ``halo," extending beyond 30o. The core and halo populations show no distinct boundary. The NOAO facilities used for the DES are funded by NSF through a contract to AURA. This work has been partially supported by grants from NSF and NASA.

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.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: jle@mit.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.