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Published May 10, 2010 | Published + Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Quaoar: A Rock in the Kuiper Belt


Here we report Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2 observations of the Quaoar-Weywot Kuiper Belt binary. From these observations, we find that Weywot is on an elliptical orbit with an eccentricity of 0.14 ± 0.04, a period of 12.438 ± 0.005 days, and a semimajor axis of 1.45 ± 0.08 × 10^4 km. The orbit reveals a surprisingly high-Quaoar-Weywot system mass of (1.6 ± 0.3) × 10^(21) kg. Using the surface properties of the Uranian and Neptunian satellites as a proxy for Quaoar's surface, we reanalyze the size estimate from Brown & Trujillo. We find, from a mean of available published size estimates, a diameter for Quaoar of 890 ± 70 km. We find Quaoar's density to be ρ = 4.2 ± 1.3 g cm^(-3), possibly the highest density in the Kuiper Belt.

Additional Information

© 2010 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2009 December 23; accepted 2010 April 1; published 2010 April 20. We thank Hal Levison, Eric Asphaug, Darin Ragozzine, and Alex Parker for their insightful discussions. This material is based upon work supported by NASA under grant NNG05GI02G. Support for program HST-Go-011169.9-A was provided by NASA through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.

Attached Files

Published - Fraser2010p9976Astrophys_J.pdf

Accepted Version - 1003.5911.pdf


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