NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2018A-0421

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Program Information for 2018A-0421


PI: Ruth Murray-Clay, UC Santa Cruz, rmc@ucsc.edu
Address: Astronomy and Astrophysics Board of Study, Natural Sciences II, Santa Cruz, CA, 95064 USA

CoI: Kathryn Volk, Lunar and Planetary Lab
CoI: Rosemary Pike, ASIAA
CoI: Wes Fraser, Queen's U. Belfast
CoI: Michele Bannister, Queen's U. Belfast
CoI: Michael Marsset, Queen's U. Belfast
CoI: Meg Schwamb, Gemini Observatory
CoI: Matthew Lehner, ASIAA
CoI: Aurelie Guilbert, UTINAM, France

Title: Constraining Neptune’s Migration: Surfaces of Resonant TNOs

Abstract: The small bodies in the Kuiper belt, Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs), preserve a record of the formation and evolution of our Solar System. The classical Kuiper belt (~42-47 AU) includes dynamically ‘cold’ objects; cold classical TNOs are a likely primordial population with distinct surface colors easily identifiable with broad-band photometry. Some hypotheses for the dynamical history of the outer Solar System involve Neptune migrating outward in such a way that its 2:1 mean motion resonance would smoothly sweep the cold classical population as it moved to its current location just beyond the cold classical region, resulting in some of these physically distinct TNOs being captured into and remaining in the 2:1 resonance until today; other hypotheses predict that the resonant populations would be populated by TNOs from other formation regions with surface colors distinct from the cold classicals. We propose to measure the surface properties of resonant 2:1 TNOs to distinguish between these evolutionary histories. The intrinsic fraction of objects in Neptune’s 2:1 resonance originating from the cold classical TNO population depends on the rate and smoothness of Neptune’s outward migration. We will create the first measurement of this fraction by acquiring multi-band grz photometry of a sizable sample of TNOs in the 2:1 for which we have precisely quantified selection biases. Our leverage of recent large, characterized TNO surveys will provide a new opportunity to measure the intrinsic 2:1 population, determine the origin of these resonators via their surface properties, and constrain the migration history of Neptune. We propose to use 1.5 nights to characterize the surfaces of 13 2:1 resonators in the 2018 A semester; these objects are excellent dynamical tracers that can reveal aspects of Neptune’s migration history.

Program Type: Standard/Solar System

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2018A):  LBT-SVC/LBC -- 15hrs


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