A Caltech Library Service

A collisional family of icy objects in the Kuiper belt

Brown, Michael E. and Barkume, Kristina and Ragozzine, Darin and Schaller, Emily L. (2007) A collisional family of icy objects in the Kuiper belt. Nature, 446 (7133). pp. 294-296. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/nature05619.

PDF (Supplementary Information) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The small bodies in the Solar System are thought to have been highly affected by collisions and erosion. In the asteroid belt, direct evidence of the effects of large collisions can be seen in the existence of separate families of asteroids—a family consists of many asteroids with similar orbits and, frequently, similar surface properties, with each family being the remnant of a single catastrophic impact. In the region beyond Neptune, in contrast, no collisionally created families have hitherto been found. The third largest known Kuiper belt object, 2003 EL_(61), however, is thought to have experienced a giant impact that created its multiple satellite system, stripped away much of an overlying ice mantle, and left it with a rapid rotation. Here we report the discovery of a family of Kuiper belt objects with surface properties and orbits that are nearly identical to those of 2003 EL_(61). This family appears to be fragments of the ejected ice mantle of 2003 EL_(61).

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Brown, Michael E.0000-0002-8255-0545
Additional Information:© 2007 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 25 October 2006; accepted 19 January 2007. We thank R. Sari, B. McKinnon, K. Noll, T. Ahrens and A. Morbidelli for their suggestions and comments on this work. This research is supported by a grant to M.E.B. from NASA Planetary Astronomy. M.E.B. was lead author of this Letter, and K.M.B., D.R. and E.L.S. contributed equally.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Issue or Number:7133
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120925-105447086
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:34346
Deposited On:25 Sep 2012 21:31
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:07

Repository Staff Only: item control page