The small numbers of large Kuiper belt objects

Megan E. Schwamb, Michael E. Brown, Wesley C. Fraser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
187 Downloads (Pure)


We explore the brightness distribution of the largest and brightest (m(R) < 22) Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs). We construct a luminosity function of the dynamically excited or hot Kuiper Belt (orbits with inclinations >5°) from the very brightest to m(R) = 23. We find for m(R) ≲ 23, a single slope appears to describe the luminosity function. We estimate that 2 KBOs brighter than m(R)19.5 are present in the Kuiper Belt today. With nine bodies already discovered this suggests that the inventory of bright KBOs is nearly complete.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2013


  • Kuiper belt: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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