The Non-Uniform and Dynamic Orbits of Trans-Neptunian Objects
International Journal of Astrophysics and Space Science
Volume 6, Issue 1, February 2018, Pages: 38-43
Received: Feb. 8, 2018; Accepted: Mar. 1, 2018; Published: Mar. 19, 2018
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Robert B. Brown, Department of Astronautics, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado, USA
Scott R. Dahlke, Department of Astronautics, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado, USA
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Previously several authors have proposed the existence of one or more giant planets beyond Neptune to explain the non-uniform orbital elements for a dozen or fewer trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). However, as shown here, it is not just twelve orbits that are non-randomly distributed. The distribution of the longitudes of ascending node, Ω, for all of the known TNOs with perihelia beyond Neptune is also non-uniform, and this cannot be explained by observational bias. However, simulations show that Ω should become uniformly distributed within just three to five million years due to small perturbations from the known planets. Furthermore, the proposed Planet Nine cannot prevent this randomization. These results indicate it is plausible that TNOs have only been in their present orbits for a few million years or less, and there is no reason for giant, undiscovered planets to exist.
Trans-Neptunian Objects, Kuiper Belt, Planet Nine
To cite this article
Robert B. Brown, Scott R. Dahlke, The Non-Uniform and Dynamic Orbits of Trans-Neptunian Objects, International Journal of Astrophysics and Space Science. Vol. 6, No. 1, 2018, pp. 38-43. doi: 10.11648/j.ijass.20180601.14
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