The population of centaurs in the Solar System
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Physics
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, )|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201806282588
|Publish Date:|| 2018-06-29
|Thesis type:||Bachelor's thesis
Context. Centaurs are objects with perihelia beyond the orbit of Jupiter and semi-major axes inside the orbit of Neptune. They show both cometary and asteroid characteristics, have been observed to have colour bimodality and some of them are suspected to have a ring system around them. Studying centaurs provides a glimpse to the early stages of the Solar System and to the formation of the rings, which makes them interesting to study. Aim. This work aims to gather the current knowledge of the observed bimodality of the colours of the centaurs and of the ring systems around (10199) Chariklo and (2060) Chiron. The work provides a map of the outer Solar System, showing the distribution of the observed centaurs. It is also tested, whether it is useful to use NAIF SPICE-toolkit to plot the locations and orbits of a large number of centaurs compared to a calculating in terms of orbital elements. Results. The evidence for (10199) Chariklo having a ring system is compelling. It is also very likely that (2060) Chiron has a ring system. In addition, the centaurs colour bimodality in B-R colours is highly significant with probability of 95 %. More observations and theoretical work is needed in order to find out the cause of the bimodality. It was found, that even though the NAIF SPICE-toolkit provides more precision to calculating the orbits of centaurs, handling large amounts of data with it seems inconvenient. If one wants a simple overview of all the observed centaur locations and orbits, it is time-saving to calculate the coordinates of the centaurs oneself. On the other hand, the NAIF SPICE-toolkit is very useful when considering only few centaurs, maintaining a better precision in the calculations.
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