Colors of inner disk classical kuiper belt objects

W. Romanishin, S. C. Tegler, G. J. Consolmagno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present new optical broadband colors, obtained with the Keck 1 and Vatican Advanced Technology telescopes, for six objects in the inner classical Kuiper Belt. Objects in the inner classical Kuiper Belt are of interest as they may represent the surviving members of the primordial Kuiper Belt that formed interior to the current position of the 3:2 resonance with Neptune, the current position of the plutinos, or, alternatively, they may be objects formed at a different heliocentric distance that were then moved to their present locations. The six new colors, combined with four previously published, show that the ten inner belt objects with known colors form a neutral clump and a reddish clump in B-R color. Nonparametric statistical tests show no significant difference between the B-R color distribution of the inner disk objects compared to the color distributions of Centaurs, plutinos, or scattered disk objects. However, the B-R color distribution of the inner classical Kuiper Belt Objects does differ significantly from the distribution of colors in the cold (low inclination) main classical Kuiper Belt. The cold main classical objects are predominately red, while the inner classical belt objects are a mixture of neutral and red. The color difference may reveal the existence of a gradient in the composition and/or surface processing history in the primordial Kuiper Belt, or indicate that the inner disk objects are not dynamically analogous to the cold main classical belt objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-33
Number of pages5
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume140
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 18 2010

Keywords

  • Kuiper Belt: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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