The phase space structure near Neptune resonances in the Kuiper Belt

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The Solar system beyond Neptune is believed to house a population of small primordial bodies left over from the planet formation process. The region up to heliocentric distance ∼50 AU (a.k.a. the Kuiper Belt) may be the source of the observed short-period comets. In this region, the phase space structure near orbital resonances with Neptune is of special interest for the long-term stability of orbits. There is reason to believe that a significant fraction (perhaps most) of the Kuiper Belt objects reside preferentially in these resonance locations. This paper describes the dynamics of small objects near the major orbital resonances with Neptune. Estimates of the widths of stable resonance zones as well as the properties of resonant orbits are obtained from the circular, planar restricted three-body model. Although this model does not contain the full complexity of the long-term orbital dynamics of Kuiper Belt objects subject to the full N-body perturbations of all the planets, it does provide a baseline for the phase space structure and properties of resonant orbits in the trans-Neptunian Solar system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-516
Number of pages13
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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