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Astron. Astrophys. 350, 685-693 (1999)

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Kuiper Belt evolution due to dynamical friction

A. Del Popolo 1,2, E. Spedicato 2 and M. Gambera 1,3

1 Istituto di Astronomia dell'Università di Catania, Viale A. Doria 6, 95125 Catania, Italy
2 Dipartimento di Matematica, Università Statale di Bergamo, Piazza Rosate 2, 24129 Bergamo, Italy
3 Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania and CNR-GNA, Viale A. Doria 6, 95125 Catania, Italy

Received 23 September 1998 / Accepted 24 June 1999

Abstract

In this paper we study the role of dynamical friction on the evolution of a population of large objects ([FORMULA] g) at heliocentric distances [FORMULA] AU in the Kuiper Belt. We show that the already flat distribution of these objects must flatten further due to non-spherically symmetric distribution of matter in the Kuiper Belt. Moreover the dynamical drag, produced by dynamical friction, causes objects of masses [FORMULA] to lose angular momentum and to fall through more central regions in a timescale [FORMULA]. This mechanism is able to transport inwards objects of the size of Pluto, supposing it was created beyond [FORMULA], according to a Stern & Colwell's (1997b) suggestion.

Key words: minor planets, asteroids – comets: general – planets and satellites: general – solar system: general

Send offprint requests to: A. Del Popolo (antonino@astrct.ct.astro.it);
E. Spedicato (emilio@ibguniv.unibg.it);
M. Gambera (mga@sunct.ct.astro.it)

This article contains no SIMBAD objects.

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: October 4, 1999
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