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A Highly Eccentric Journey

24 May 2021, 16:00 UTC
A Highly Eccentric Journey
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Editor’s note: Astrobites is a graduate-student-run organization that digests astrophysical literature for undergraduate students. As part of the partnership between the AAS and astrobites, we occasionally repost astrobites content here at AAS Nova. We hope you enjoy this post from astrobites; the original can be viewed at astrobites.org.
Title: Eccentric Early Migration of Neptune
Authors: David Nesvorný
First Author’s Institution: Southwest Research Institute
Status: Published in ApJL
Among the furthest reaches of our solar system, beyond the orbits of the mighty ice giants, lies the Kuiper Belt. This circumstellar disk, roughly twenty times as wide as the asteroid belt, is home to many small bodies (defined by the IAU as any Sun-orbiting body that is neither a planet, dwarf planet, nor satellite), as well as various dwarfs, including what was once the ninth planet. Collectively, these bodies are referred to as Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), which are themselves a subset of Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs). Understanding the collective orbits of KBOs provides important insights into the evolutionary history of our early solar system.
Neptune, like other outer gas giants, is known to have migrated in the past and interacted with KBOs. We can predict what Neptune’s migratory orbit was like by ...

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