The dynamics of known centaurs

Matthew S. Tiscareno, Renu Malhotra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

86 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We have numerically investigated the long-term dynamical behavior of known Centaurs. This class of objects is thought to constitute the transitional population between the Kuiper belt and the Jupiter-family comets (JFCs). In our study, we find that over their dynamical lifetimes these objects diffuse into the JFCs and other sinks, and they also make excursions into the scattered disk, but (not surprisingly) do not diffuse into the parameter space representing the main Kuiper belt. These Centaurs spend most of their dynamical lifetimes in orbits of eccentricity 0.2-0.6 and perihelion distance 12-30 AU. Their orbital evolution is characterized by frequent close encounters with the giant planets. Most of these Centaurs will escape from the solar system (or enter the Oort cloud), while a fraction will enter the JFC population and a few percent will impact a giant planet. Their median dynamical lifetime is 9 Myr, although there is a wide dispersion in lifetimes, ranging from less than 1 Myr to more than 100 Myr. We find the dynamical evolution of this sample of Centaurs to be less orderly than the planet-to-planet "handoff" described in previous investigations. We discuss the implications of our study for the spatial distribution of the Centaurs as a whole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3122-3131
Number of pages10
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume126
Issue number6 1776
StatePublished - Dec 2003

Fingerprint

planets
planet
comets
Jupiter (planet)
Jupiter
comet
Kuiper belt
life (durability)
Oort cloud
sinks
eccentricity
encounters
solar system
escape
spatial distribution
orbits
orbitals
family

Keywords

  • Celestial mechanics
  • Comets: general
  • Kuiper belt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Tiscareno, M. S., & Malhotra, R. (2003). The dynamics of known centaurs. Astronomical Journal, 126(6 1776), 3122-3131.

The dynamics of known centaurs. / Tiscareno, Matthew S.; Malhotra, Renu.

In: Astronomical Journal, Vol. 126, No. 6 1776, 12.2003, p. 3122-3131.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tiscareno, MS & Malhotra, R 2003, 'The dynamics of known centaurs', Astronomical Journal, vol. 126, no. 6 1776, pp. 3122-3131.
Tiscareno MS, Malhotra R. The dynamics of known centaurs. Astronomical Journal. 2003 Dec;126(6 1776):3122-3131.
Tiscareno, Matthew S. ; Malhotra, Renu. / The dynamics of known centaurs. In: Astronomical Journal. 2003 ; Vol. 126, No. 6 1776. pp. 3122-3131.
@article{fcc9a83b645e4e72b11d262075f04666,
title = "The dynamics of known centaurs",
abstract = "We have numerically investigated the long-term dynamical behavior of known Centaurs. This class of objects is thought to constitute the transitional population between the Kuiper belt and the Jupiter-family comets (JFCs). In our study, we find that over their dynamical lifetimes these objects diffuse into the JFCs and other sinks, and they also make excursions into the scattered disk, but (not surprisingly) do not diffuse into the parameter space representing the main Kuiper belt. These Centaurs spend most of their dynamical lifetimes in orbits of eccentricity 0.2-0.6 and perihelion distance 12-30 AU. Their orbital evolution is characterized by frequent close encounters with the giant planets. Most of these Centaurs will escape from the solar system (or enter the Oort cloud), while a fraction will enter the JFC population and a few percent will impact a giant planet. Their median dynamical lifetime is 9 Myr, although there is a wide dispersion in lifetimes, ranging from less than 1 Myr to more than 100 Myr. We find the dynamical evolution of this sample of Centaurs to be less orderly than the planet-to-planet {"}handoff{"} described in previous investigations. We discuss the implications of our study for the spatial distribution of the Centaurs as a whole.",
keywords = "Celestial mechanics, Comets: general, Kuiper belt",
author = "Tiscareno, {Matthew S.} and Renu Malhotra",
year = "2003",
month = "12",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "126",
pages = "3122--3131",
journal = "Astronomical Journal",
issn = "0004-6256",
publisher = "IOP Publishing Ltd.",
number = "6 1776",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The dynamics of known centaurs

AU - Tiscareno, Matthew S.

AU - Malhotra, Renu

PY - 2003/12

Y1 - 2003/12

N2 - We have numerically investigated the long-term dynamical behavior of known Centaurs. This class of objects is thought to constitute the transitional population between the Kuiper belt and the Jupiter-family comets (JFCs). In our study, we find that over their dynamical lifetimes these objects diffuse into the JFCs and other sinks, and they also make excursions into the scattered disk, but (not surprisingly) do not diffuse into the parameter space representing the main Kuiper belt. These Centaurs spend most of their dynamical lifetimes in orbits of eccentricity 0.2-0.6 and perihelion distance 12-30 AU. Their orbital evolution is characterized by frequent close encounters with the giant planets. Most of these Centaurs will escape from the solar system (or enter the Oort cloud), while a fraction will enter the JFC population and a few percent will impact a giant planet. Their median dynamical lifetime is 9 Myr, although there is a wide dispersion in lifetimes, ranging from less than 1 Myr to more than 100 Myr. We find the dynamical evolution of this sample of Centaurs to be less orderly than the planet-to-planet "handoff" described in previous investigations. We discuss the implications of our study for the spatial distribution of the Centaurs as a whole.

AB - We have numerically investigated the long-term dynamical behavior of known Centaurs. This class of objects is thought to constitute the transitional population between the Kuiper belt and the Jupiter-family comets (JFCs). In our study, we find that over their dynamical lifetimes these objects diffuse into the JFCs and other sinks, and they also make excursions into the scattered disk, but (not surprisingly) do not diffuse into the parameter space representing the main Kuiper belt. These Centaurs spend most of their dynamical lifetimes in orbits of eccentricity 0.2-0.6 and perihelion distance 12-30 AU. Their orbital evolution is characterized by frequent close encounters with the giant planets. Most of these Centaurs will escape from the solar system (or enter the Oort cloud), while a fraction will enter the JFC population and a few percent will impact a giant planet. Their median dynamical lifetime is 9 Myr, although there is a wide dispersion in lifetimes, ranging from less than 1 Myr to more than 100 Myr. We find the dynamical evolution of this sample of Centaurs to be less orderly than the planet-to-planet "handoff" described in previous investigations. We discuss the implications of our study for the spatial distribution of the Centaurs as a whole.

KW - Celestial mechanics

KW - Comets: general

KW - Kuiper belt

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=1642382076&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=1642382076&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:1642382076

VL - 126

SP - 3122

EP - 3131

JO - Astronomical Journal

JF - Astronomical Journal

SN - 0004-6256

IS - 6 1776

ER -