Resonant and secular families of the Kuiper Belt.

E. I. Chiang, R. L. Millis, M. W. Buie, L. H. Wasserman, and K. J. Meech. Earth, Moon, and Planets, 92, 49-62 (2003) .


We review ongoing efforts to identify occupants of mean-motion resonances (MMRs) and collisional families in the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt. Direct integrations of trajectories of Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) reveal the 1:1 (Trojan), 5:4, 4:3, 3:2 (Plutino), 5:3, 7:4, 9:5, 2:1 (Twotino), and 5:2 MMRs to be inhabited. Apart from the Trojan, resonant KBOs typically have large orbital eccentricities and inclinations. The observed pattern of resonance occupation is consistent with resonant capture and adiabatic excitation by a migratory Neptune; however, the dynamically cold initial conditions prior to resonance sweeping that are typically assumed by migration simulations are probably inadequate. Given the dynamically hot residents of the 5:2 MMR and the substantial inclinations observed in all exterior MMRs, a fraction of the primordial belt was likely dynamically pre-heated prior to resonance sweeping. A pre-heated population may have arisen as Neptune gravitationally scattered objects into trans-Neptunian space. The spatial distribution of Twotinos offers a unique diagnostic of Neptune's migration history. The Neptunian Trojan population may rival the Jovian Trojan population, and the former's existence is argued to rule out violent orbital histories for Neptune. Finally, lowest-order secular theory is applied to several hundred non-resonant KBOs with well-measured orbits to update proposals of collisional families. No convincing family is detected.

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