Prof. Hilke Schlichting

Kuiper Belt Objects

Location: Geology 3656
Time: 2:30PM

In 1930 a small “planet”, Pluto, was discovered that had a strange orbit. The mean radius of the orbit was larger than that of Neptune, but during part of the orbit (e.g., 1979-1999) the object is closer to the Sun than Neptune. Thanks to research led by our UCLA colleague Dave Jewitt, additional “planets” with strange orbits occupying the region 30 to 50 AU from the Sun have been found. The objects largely consist of ices of water, methane and ammonia. Prof. Schlichting will talk about the formation of Kuiper-Belt objects, dynamical processes that caused their distribution in space, and relationships to comets. Picture credit: NASA