Collisional Grooming Models of the Kuiper Belt x1, x10, x100, x1000


Marc Kuchner and Christopher Stark


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Debris disks are often described as more massive versions of the solar system’s Kuiper Belt. But how would the Kuiper Belt dust cloud’s morphology change if it were scaled up in mass? To answer this question, we modeled the 3-D structure of the Kuiper Belt’s dust cloud at four different dust levels, incorporating planet-dust interactions and grain-grain collisions using the collisional grooming algorithm. We find that the Kuiper Belt would show no signs of planets in submillimeter images, though optical images would show a resonant ring associated with Saturn at all dust levels. It turns out that mean motion resonances with planets can play strong roles in the sculpting of debris disks even in the presence of collisions, though their roles are somewhat different than what has been anticipated. Moreover, grain-grain collisions are vital in sculpting today’s Kuiper Belt dust, and probably other aspects of the solar system dust complex.

Attached documents

Lyot2010proc s4 talk KuchnerM.pdf
PDF, 4.1 Mb