DescriptionCentaurs are icy objects in the outer solar system whose orbits cross those of the giant planets. It is thought that most Centaurs originate from the solar system's Kuiper Belt, a reservoir of icy bodies orbiting just beyond Neptune. However, a few Centaurs with very large orbital inclinations and/or mean orbital distances cannot be well-explained with a Kuiper Belt origin. Alternatively, it has been proposed that these outlier Cenaturs may come from the Oort Cloud, a spherical halo of icy objects that extends over halfway to the nearest star. In this project we will simulate the production of Centaurs from the Oort Cloud using numerical orbital integrations. Following this, we will run our simulated orbits/objects through a sky survey simulator to compare our simulated "detections" with the real sample of known objects. Thus, we will be able to evaluate whether the Oort Cloud is a potential source of Centaurs with extreme orbits.
OrganizationNorthwestern University
DepartmentPhysics and Astronomy
Sponsor Campus GridOSG Connect
Principal Investigator
Nathan Kaib
Field Of ScienceAstrophysics