Title: Physical Properties Of The Most Pristine Solar System Bodies:
Transneptunian Objects And Centaurs

Scientific program: Transneptunian Objects and Centaurs were formed in the Kuiper
Belt, the left-over of the formation disk of our planetary system.
They contain the most pristine material that originates from
about 4.6 billion years ago and that we can observe today.
However, just a very vague picture exists on their physical
properties and their evolution over the age of the solar system.

  • This proposal will address the key questions on the nature of
    TNOs and Centaurs:
  • Which taxonomic types exist among TNOs and among Centaurs?
  • What are the development tracks of the taxonomic types and
    how do they relate to the orbit evolution of the objects?
  • What is the surface chemistry the objects, are their
    differences among the objects and how do they correlated
    with the taxonomic type classification?
  • Which objects display the primordial chemistry of the Kuiper
    Belt region, which don't?
  • Are there colour and spectral diversities and thus
    non-uniformities in the surface material of a single object?
  • Is coma activity possible in TNOs?
  • What is the albedo and the size distribution of the objects?

The answers will be obtained from observations (visible and
near-IR photometry and spectroscopy) of a large, statistically
significant sample of TNOs and Centaurs.

Duration: 2 years

Time allocated for P67: 12h NTT SUSI2
42h UT1 FORS1

Object list for P67:
visible photometry: 1993FW1, 1993SB, 1994JQ1, 1994JR1, 1995QY9, 1996GQ21,
1996RR20, 1996SZ4, 1996TK66, 1997QH4, 1997QJ4,
1997RT5, 1998BU48, 1998KG62, 1998KR65, 1998QM107,
1998SM165, 1998WV31, 1998WW24, 1999DE9, 1999DF9,
1999HC12, 1999HW11, 1999HX11, 1999KR16, 1999OM4,
1999OY3, 1999RB216, 1999RD215, 1999RE215, 1999RJ215,
1999RY215, 1999RZ215, 2000CL104, 2000EB173,
2000EE173, 2000FD8
visible spectroscopy: 1994EV3, 1996GQ21, 1998SG35, 1998SN165, 1999KR16,
1999TC36, 2000EB173
IR photometry: 1994TB, 1995QY9, 1996GQ21, 1998BU48, 1998VG44,
1999DE9, 1999KR16, 2000EB173
IR spectroscopy: 1996GQ21, 1998SN165, 1999TC36, 2000EB173

Project status: project starts with period 67 (April 2001)