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Title: THE DENSITY OF MID-SIZED KUIPER BELT OBJECT 2002 UX25 AND THE FORMATION OF THE DWARF PLANETS

The formation of the largest objects in the Kuiper belt, with measured densities of ∼1.5 g cm{sup –3} and higher, from the coagulation of small bodies, with measured densities below 1 g cm{sup –3}, is difficult to explain without invoking significant porosity in the smallest objects. If such porosity does occur, measured densities should begin to increase at the size at which significant porosity is no longer supported. Among the asteroids, this transition occurs for diameters larger than ∼350 km. In the Kuiper belt, no density measurements have been made between ∼350 km and ∼850 km, the diameter range where porosities might first begin to drop. Objects in this range could provide key tests of the rock fraction of small Kuiper belt objects (KBOs). Here we report the orbital characterization, mass, and density determination of the 2002 UX25 system in the Kuiper belt. For this object, with a diameter of ∼650 km, we find a density of 0.82 ± 0.11 g cm{sup –3}, making it the largest solid known object in the solar system with a measured density below that of pure water ice. We argue that the porosity of this object is unlikely to be above ∼20%, suggesting a low rock fraction. If the currentlymore » measured densities of KBOs are a fair representation of the sample as a whole, creating ∼1000 km and larger KBOs with rock mass fractions of 70% and higher from coagulation of small objects with rock fractions as low as those inferred from 2002 UX25 is difficult.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22364116
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 778; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTEROIDS; ASTRONOMY; ASTROPHYSICS; DENSITY; ICE; MASS; PLANETS; POROSITY; ROCKS; SATELLITES; SOLAR SYSTEM; SOLIDS; WATER