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Water ice in the Kuiper belt

Brown, M. E. and Schaller, E. L. and Fraser, W. C. (2012) Water ice in the Kuiper belt. Astronomical Journal, 143 (6). Art. No. 146. ISSN 0004-6256. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/143/6/146.

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We examine a large collection of low-resolution near-infrared spectra of Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) and centaurs in an attempt to understand the presence of water ice in the Kuiper Belt. We find that water ice on the surface of these objects occurs in three separate manners: (1) Haumea family members uniquely show surfaces of nearly pure water ice, presumably a consequence of the fragmentation of the icy mantle of a larger differentiated proto-Haumea; (2) large objects with absolute magnitudes of H < 3 (and a limited number to H = 4.5) have surface coverings of water ice—perhaps mixed with ammonia—that appears to be related to possibly ancient cryovolcanism on these large objects; and (3) smaller KBOs and centaurs which are neither Haumea family members nor cold-classical KBOs appear to divide into two families (which we refer to as "neutral" and "red"), each of which is a mixture of a common nearly neutral component and either a slightly red or very red component that also includes water ice. A model suggesting that the difference between neutral and red objects due to formation in an early compact solar system either inside or outside, respectively, of the ~20 AU methanol evaporation line is supported by the observation that methanol is only detected on the reddest objects, which are those which would be expected to have the most of the methanol containing mixture.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Brown, M. E.0000-0002-8255-0545
Fraser, W. C.0000-0001-6680-6558
Additional Information:© 2012 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2012 February 7; accepted 2012 April 10; published 2012 May 14. This research has been supported by the grant NNX09AB49G from the NASA Planetary Astronomy program. Some of the data presented here were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. Support for program HST-GO-11644.01-A was provided by NASA through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of the Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
NASANAS 5-26555
Space Telescope Science InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:astrochemistry; Kuiper belt: general; planets and satellites: composition; planets and satellites: formation
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120430-084111969
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Official Citation:M. E. Brown et al 2012 AJ 143 146
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:30390
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:01 Aug 2012 19:39
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 19:47

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