Color-Inclination Relation of the Classical Kuiper Belt Objects - AstrophysicsReport as inadecuate

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Abstract: We re-examine the correlation between the colors and the inclinations of theClassical Kuiper Belt Objects CKBOs with an enlarged sample of opticalmeasurements. The correlation is strong rho=-0.7 and highly significant >8sigma in the range 0-34 deg. Nonetheless, the optical colors are independentof inclination below ~12 deg, showing no evidence for a break at the reportedboundary between the so-called dynamically -hot- and -cold- populations near ~5deg. The commonly accepted parity between the dynamically cold CKBOs and thered CKBOs is observationally unsubstantiated, since the group of red CKBOsextends to higher inclinations. Our data suggest, however, the existence of adifferent color break. We find that the functional form of thecolor-inclination relation is most satisfactorily described by a non-linear andstepwise behavior with a color break at ~12 deg. Objects with inclinations >12deg show bluish colors which are either weakly correlated with inclination orare simply homogeneously blue, whereas objects with inclinations <12 deg arehomogeneously red.

Author: Nuno Peixinho, Pedro Lacerda, David Jewitt


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