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A measurement of the Kuiper Belt midplane from AI-classified objects

Presentation #501.03 in the session “KBOs and Multiples”.

Published onJun 01, 2021
A measurement of the Kuiper Belt midplane from AI-classified objects

Differences between theory and measurement for the midplane of the Kuiper Belt may reveal perturbations from as-yet unknown distant planets, but researchers do not yet agree on measurements of the midplane. For instance, Volk & Malhotra (2017) found a significant difference between theory and measurement at semimajor axes over 50 au, while Van Laerhoven et al (2019), using an observational sample limited to the OSSOS survey, did not. Inspired by a 50% increase in the number of known Kuiper Belt objects since 2017 (and a 100% increase above 50 au), we apply the machine learning classifier of Smullen & Volk (2020) to classify objects as classical, scattering, resonant, or detached. We then use the methods of VM17 to compute the unbiased midplane of the non-resonant objects, collectively and in distinct semimajor axis bins between 35 and 150 au. We will report our results and compare them to previous estimates. We acknowledge research funding from JPL-SURP and NSF grant AST-1824869.


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