Astronomy 161 - Introduction to Solar System Astronomy - Autumn 2007

Beyond the orbit of Neptune lies the realm of the icy worlds, ranging in

size from Neptune's giant moon Triton and the dwarf planets Pluto and

Eris, all the way down to the nuclei of comets a few kilometers across.

This lecture discussed the icy bodies of the Trans-Neptunian regions of

the Solar System, discussing the basic properties of Triton (the best

studied such object), Pluto, Eris, and the Kuiper Belt, introducing the

dynamical families of Trans-Neptunian Objects that record in their

orbits the slow migration of Neptune outwards during the early history

of the Solar System. The Kuiper Belt is the icy analog of the main

Asteroid Belt of the inner Solar System: both are shaped by their

gravitational interaction with giant gas planets (Jupiter for the

asteroids, Neptune for the KBOs), and are composed of leftover raw

materials from the formation of their respective regions of the Solar

System. Recorded 2007 Nov 27 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus

campus of The Ohio State University.

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