Volume 494, Number 2, February I 2009
|Page(s)||693 - 706|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||22 December 2008|
New BVRI photometry results on Kuiper Belt Objects from the ESO VLT*
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, PO Box 3004, 18080 Granada, Spain e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación, Facultad de Ciencias Básicas, Dpto. de Física, Santiago de Chile, Chile
3 Max-Planck-Institute für Solar System Research, Max-Planck-Str. 2, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
Accepted: 26 November 2008
Context. Photometric surveys of transNeptunian objects (TNOs) and Centaurs have suggested possible correlations between some orbital parameters and surface colors of classical objects, scattered disk objects (SDOs), and Centaurs. However, larger sample sizes are needed in order to corroborate or rule out the possible correlations and find some possible new ones. The implications from these correlations for the formation and evolution of classical TNOs, SDOs, and Centaurs are important to understand possible physico-chemical coloring mechanisms and their influence on the surfaces of the TNOs and Centaurs, as well as their evolutionary history.
Aims. We aim to obtain a sufficiently large photometric dataset in order to carry out a more significant statistical analysis, with emphasis on improving the sample size of observed objects, in particular for classical TNOs and SDOs.
Methods. We use VLT-FORS images through BVRI filters of 32 Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and obtain their colors after proper reduction and calibration. We study the possible correlations (Peixinho et al. 2004, Icarus, 170, 153; Doressoundiram et al. 2005, Icarus, 174, 90) merging these new measurements with the VLT published results from the ESO large program and with the latest published results of the Meudon Multicolor Survey via non-parametric statistical tests.
Results. We obtain a large dataset of 116 objects (classical, SDOs and Centaurs) and, in addition to confirming most of the correlations and conclusions reached in the literature, some possible new correlations are found. The most interesting ones are some correlations of color vs. orbital parameters for the different dynamical groups. We find that some correlations in the classical group, as well as the (dynamically) cold and hot subgroups depend on the size of the objects. As a by-product of our study, we were able to identify new candidates for light curve studies and found that ~55% of the objects showed variability above 0.15 mag. This is a higher value than what is found in other studies. Since our sample contains smaller objects than samples from other studies, this result might be an indication that the smaller TNOs are more elongated than the larger ones.
Key words: Kuiper Belt / techniques: photometric
© ESO, 2009
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