Photometric Lightcurves of Transneptunian Objects and Centaurs: Rotations, Shapes, and Densities

S. S. Sheppard, P. Lacerda, J. L. Ortiz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


We discuss the transneptunian objects and Centaur rotations, shapes, and densities as determined through analyzing observations of their short-term photometric lightcurves. The lightcurves are found to be produced by various different mechanisms including rotational albedo variations, elongation from extremely high angular momentum, as well as possible eclipsing or contact binaries. The known rotations are from a few hours to several days with the vast majority having periods around 8.5 h, which appears to be significantly slower than the main-belt asteroids of similar size. The photometric ranges have been found to be near zero to over 1.1 mag. Assuming the elongated, high-angular-momentum objects are relatively strengthless, we find most Kuiper belt objects appear to have very low densities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Solar System Beyond Neptune
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Publication series

NameSpace Science Series
PublisherThe University of Arizona Press


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