NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009A-0236

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Proposal Information for 2009A-0236


PI: Alex Parker, University of Victoria, alexhp@uvic.ca
Address: Department of Physics and Astronomy, PO Box 3055, Victoria, BC, V8W 3P6, Canada

CoI: Lynne Jones, University of Washington
CoI: Brett Gladman, University of British Columbia
CoI: JJ Kavelaars, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
CoI: Edward Lin, NCU, Taiwan
CoI: Jean-Luc Margot, Cornell University
CoI: Olivier Mousis, Obs. de Besancon, France
CoI: Joel Parker, SWRI, USA
CoI: Jean-Marc Petit, Obs. de Besancon, France
CoI: Phillipe Rouselot, Obs. de Besancon, France

Title: Weighing KBOs: Characterizing Kuiper Belt Binaries

Abstract: Long period Kuiper Belt binaries - being difficult to create and very sensitive to perturbation - yield unique insight into the physical properties of these distant comets as well as probing the dynamical and collisional conditions over the history of the outer Solar System. The orbital, compositional and statistical properties of these binaries constrain the total mass and dynamical history of the various populations, with important implications for theories of Solar System formation. Here we propose an observational campaign to track and characterize the mutual orbits of all known wide-separation, equal-sized Kuiper Belt Binary systems that have poorly constrained orbits. Accurately measuring the orbits of binary systems with a series of high-SN optical (GMOS) observations allows determination of mass and system angular momentum, which provide constraints on formation mechanisms.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009A-0236

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