• From KBOs to Centaurs: The thermal connection

      Sarid, G.; Prialnik, D. (The Meteoritical Society, 2009-01-01)
      We present results of thermal evolution calculations for objects originating in the Kuiper belt and transferring inwards, to the region of the outer planets. Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) are considered to be part of a reservoir that supplies the flux of small icy bodies, mainly Centaurs and Jupiter-family comets, to regions interior to the orbit of Neptune. We study the internal thermal evolution, for ~10^8 yr, of three typical KBOs and use the end state of the simulation as initial conditions for evolutionary calculations of two typical Centaurs. Some evolutionary trends can be identified for the KBOs, depending on key physical parameters, such as size and composition. The subsequent evolution in the Centaur region results in both specific features for each modeled object (mainly surface and sub-surface composition) and common characteristics of thermally evolved Centaurs.
    • OpenOrb: Open-source asteroid orbit computation software including statistical ranging

      Granvik, M.; Virtanen, J.; Oszkiewicz, D.; Muinonen, K. (The Meteoritical Society, 2009-01-01)
      We are making an open-source asteroid orbit computation software package called OpenOrb publicly available. OpenOrb is built on a well-established Bayesian inversion theory, which means that it is to a large part complementary to orbit-computation packages currently available. In particular, OpenOrb is the first package that contains tools for rigorously estimating the uncertainties resulting from the inverse problem of computing orbital elements using scarce astrometry. In addition to the well-known least-squares method, OpenOrb also contains both Monte-Carlo (MC) and Markov-Chain MC (MCMC; Oszkiewicz et al. [2009]) versions of the statistical ranging method. Ranging allows the user to obtain sampled, non-Gaussian orbital-element probability-density functions and is therefore optimized for cases where the amount of astrometry is scarce or spans a relatively short time interval. Ranging-based methods have successfully been applied to a variety of different problems such as rigorous ephemeris prediction, orbital element distribution studies for transneptunian objects, the computation of invariant collision probabilities between near-Earth objects and the Earth, detection of linkages between astrometric asteroid observations within an apparition as well as between apparitions, and in the rigorous analysis of the impact of orbital arc length and/or astrometric uncertainty on the uncertainty of the resulting orbits. Tools for making ephemeris predictions and for classifying objects based on their orbits are also available in OpenOrb. As an example, we use OpenOrb in the search for candidate retrograde and/or high-inclination objects similar to 2008 KV42 in the known population of transneptunian objects that have an observational time span shorter than 30 days.