EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 371, Number 3, June I 2001
Page(s) 1150 - 1154
Section The solar system
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20010501

A&A 371, 1150-1154 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20010501

Analysis of Trans-Neptunian and Centaur colours: continuous trend or grouping?

M. A. Barucci1, M. Fulchignoni1, 2, M. Birlan1, A. Doressoundiram1, J. Romon1 and H. Boehnhardt3

1  Observatoire de Paris, DESPA, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92190 Meudon, France
2  Université de Paris VII, Paris, France
3  ESO, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Santiago de Chile, Chile

(Received 4 July 2000 / Accepted 2 April 2001 )

We report the results of the first statistical analysis of colours (B-V, V-R, V-I, and V-J) of the Trans-Neptunian and Centaur populations. Using the same statistical techniques applied to define the current asteroid taxonomy, we find a continuous spread of the objects between neutral colour to very red. Pushing further the analysis, the TNOs may be split into four groups. The differences in colour content are interpreted as a consequence of the TNOs evolution (i.e. collisional history, space weathering, ...)

Key words: trans-Neptunian object -- taxonomy -- photometry -- statistics

Offprint request: M. A. Barucci, antonella.barucci@obspm.fr

© ESO 2001