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Published September 10, 2011 | Submitted + Published
Journal Article Open

The Surface Composition of Large Kuiper Belt Object 2007 OR10


We present photometry and spectra of the large Kuiper belt object 2007 OR10. The data show significant near-infrared absorption features due to water ice. While most objects in the Kuiper belt with water ice absorption this prominent have the optically neutral colors of water ice, 2007 OR10 is among the reddest Kuiper belt objects known. One other large Kuiper belt object—Quaoar—has similar red coloring and water ice absorption, and it is hypothesized that the red coloration of this object is due to irradiation of the small amounts of methane able to be retained on Quaoar. 2007 OR10, though warmer than Quaoar, is in a similar volatile retention regime because it is sufficiently larger that its stronger gravity can still retain methane. We propose, therefore, that the red coloration on 2007 OR10 is also caused by the retention of small amounts of methane. Positive detection of methane on 2007 OR10 will require spectra with higher signal to noise. Models for volatile retention on Kuiper belt objects appear to continue to do an excellent job reproducing all of the available observations.

Additional Information

© 2011 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2011 May 18; accepted 2011 August 4; published 2011 August 22.

Attached Files

Published - Brown2011p15914Astrophys_J_Lett.pdf

Submitted - 1108.1418.pdf


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