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Inferring the primordial Pluto-mass population of the Kuiper belt

Presentation #501.05 in the session “KBOs and Multiples”.

Published onJun 01, 2021
Inferring the primordial Pluto-mass population of the Kuiper belt

While the modern Kuiper belt possesses two ~Pluto-mass objects (Pluto and Eris), there must have been many more such bodies in the early outer solar system prior to the modern belt’s formation. Here we run numerical simulations that account for the full gravitational effects of a primordial population of Pluto-mass bodies to directly model the formation of the modern Kuiper belt as well as the capture of Pluto-mass bodies into the modern belt. Our simulations indicate that the capture efficiency of Pluto-mass bodies into the modern Kuiper belt ranges from a few tenths of a percent up to ~1%. This suggests that the population of Pluto-mass bodies in the primordial Kuiper belt numbered no greater than ~1000 and, perhaps, significantly smaller.


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