Authors: Renu Malhotra, Martin Duncan & Harold Levison
Status: To appear in Protostars and Planets IV
Abstract: Our current knowledge of the dynamical structure of the Kuiper Belt is reviewed here. Numerical results on long term orbital evolution and dynamical mechanisms underlying the transport of objects out of the Kuiper Belt are discussed. Scenarios about the origin of the highly non-uniform orbital distribution of Kuiper Belt objects are described, as well as the constraints these provide on the formation and long term dynamical evolution of the outer Solar system. Possible mechanisms include an early history of orbital migration of the outer planets, a mass loss phase in the outer Solar system and scattering by large planetesimals. The origin and dynamics of the scattered component of the Kuiper Belt is discussed. Inferences about the primordial mass distribution in the trans-Neptune region are reviewed. Outstanding questions about Kuiper Belt dynamics are listed.
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