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Solar System Archaeology

Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Susan
Benecchi (Space Telescope Science Institute)

Over the last decade we have been using Kuiper Belt objects to trace the migration history of this outer region of our Solar System. Comparatively, studies of these objects as well as asteroids also provide our best sample of the materials we might find in debris disks around other stars. Binaries within the Kuiper Belt are the best sub-population to characterize because we can obtain measurements of physical properties with earth-based observations. I will summarize my current work which includes discovery of KBOs and binaries in particular, followed by refinement of their system dynamics and studies of their physical characteristics including color, shape, reflectivity, size, and bulk density, which we consider a proxy for bulk composition.

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