OSSOS. II. A sharp transition in the absolute magnitude distribution of the Kuiper Belt's scattering population

C. Shankman, J.J. Kavelaars, B.J. Gladman, M. Alexandersen, N. Kaib, J.-M. Petit, M.T. Bannister, Y.-T. Chen, S. Gwyn, M. Jakubik, K. Volk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
133 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

We measure the absolute magnitude, H, distribution, dN(H) ∝ 10 αH , of the scattering Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs) as a proxy for their size-frequency distribution. We show that the H-distribution of the scattering TNOs is not consistent with a single-slope distribution, but must transition around H g ~ 9 to either a knee with a shallow slope or to a divot, which is a differential drop followed by second exponential distribution. Our analysis is based on a sample of 22 scattering TNOs drawn from three different TNO surveys—the Canada–France Ecliptic Plane Survey, Alexandersen et al., and the Outer Solar System Origins Survey, all of which provide well-characterized detection thresholds—combined with a cosmogonic model for the formation of the scattering TNO population. Our measured absolute magnitude distribution result is independent of the choice of cosmogonic model. Based on our analysis, we estimate that the number of scattering TNOs is (2.4–8.3) × 105 for H r < 12. A divot H-distribution is seen in a variety of formation scenarios and may explain several puzzles in Kuiper Belt science. We find that a divot H-distribution simultaneously explains the observed scattering TNO, Neptune Trojan, Plutino, and Centaur H-distributions while simultaneously predicting a large enough scattering TNO population to act as the sole supply of the Jupiter-Family Comets.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume151
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

cited By 11

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'OSSOS. II. A sharp transition in the absolute magnitude distribution of the Kuiper Belt's scattering population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this