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Resupplying the Jupiter Family Comets from the Kuiper Belt: The Roles of Various Dynamical Subclasses

Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Volk (Univ of AZ)

The short-period Jupiter family comets (JFCs) are a population of fairly low-inlination, Jupiter-crossing comets thought to originate in the Kuiper Belt. Because JFCs have short dynamical lifetimes compared to the age of the solar system, there must be an influx of new JFCs from the Kuiper Belt to resupply them. There are several different dynamical subclasses within the Kuiper Belt that could contribute to the JFC population; identifying the dominant source region will allow us to use the observationally accessible JFCs as a probe of the physical properties of their Kuiper Belt precursors. I will present preliminary results from dynamical models of the Kuiper Belt that attempt to identify the subclass that is the dominant source of the JFCs, and I will discuss aspects of this problem that will require further constraints from both observations and modeling.

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