AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 34 Sun and Solar System
Poster, Wednesday, 10:00am-7:00pm, Thursday, 9:20am-2:00pm, June 1, 2005, Ballroom A

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[34.06] Where are Sedna's Sisters?

D. F. Bartlett (University of Colorado)

Simulations of the formation of the Oort cloud from the Kuiper Belt typically are presented as an animated scatter diagram. Here the orbit of each object appears as a point of perihelion distance q and semi-major axis a. (eg. Levison, Morbidelli, & Dones 2004). These plots show a conspicuous void, bounded by the inequalities: q < a, q > 50 AU, and a < 5000-10000 AU. Brown (2005) calls this void the ``Bermuda Triangle". The only present occupant is Sedna (q=76 AU, a=501 AU). Brown, Trujillo, & Rabinowitz , the discovers of Sedna, have challenged others to explain how Sedna got inside the triangle and to predict where similar objects might be found. Sedna could not have simply formed in its current orbit by the accumulation of smaller objects (Stern 2005). Several authors have suggested that a passing star scattered Sedna into the triangle shortly after the birth of the solar system.

Here I offer an alternative which uses the very strong galactic tidal forces of the Sinusoidal potential (Bartlett 2001, 2004). In this potential, the numerator of Newton's law is replaced by GM cos(ko r) where ko = 2 \pi/ lambdao and the 'wavelength' \lambdao is 425 pc. The 20 radial oscillations between the sun and the center of the Galaxy give tidal forces that are 120 times as big as generally expected. I will show how this tidal force, acting over the lifetime of the solar system, could move the perihelion of Sedna from about 40 to 76 AU. Sedna's sisters are likely to have still larger q & a and to have perihelia in two specific quadrants of the ecliptic plane.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #2
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.