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Post Info TOPIC: Haumea collisional family


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Title: Characterisation of candidate members of (136108) Haumea's family: II. Follow-up observations
Authors: Benoit Carry, Colin Snodgrass, Pedro Lacerda, Olivier Hainaut, Christophe Dumas

From a dynamical analysis of the orbital elements of transneptunian objects (TNOs), Ragozzine & Brown reported a list of candidate members of the first collisional family found among this population, associated with (136108) Haumea (a.k.a. 2003 EL61). We aim to distinguish the true members of the Haumea collisional family from interlopers. We search for water ice on their surfaces, which is a common characteristic of the known family members. The properties of the confirmed family are used to constrain the formation mechanism of Haumea, its satellites, and its family. Optical and near-infrared photometry is used to identify water ice. We use in particular the CH4 filter of the Hawk-I instrument at the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope as a short H-band (Hs), the (J-Hs) colour being a sensitive measure of the water ice absorption band at 1.6 m. Continuing our previous study headed by Snodgrass, we report colours for 8 candidate family members, including near-infrared colours for 5. We confirm one object as a genuine member of the collisional family (2003 UZ117), and reject 5 others. The lack of infrared data for the two remaining objects prevent any conclusion from being drawn. The total number of rejected members is therefore 17. The 11 confirmed members represent only a third of the 36 candidates. The origin of Haumea's family is likely to be related to an impact event. However, a scenario explaining all the peculiarities of Haumea itself and its family remains elusive.

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Title: The effect of orbital evolution on the Haumea (2006 EL61) collisional family
Authors: Kathryn Volk, Renu Malhotra

The Haumea family is currently the only identified collisional family in the Kuiper belt. We numerically simulate the long-term dynamical evolution of the family to estimate a lower limit of the family's age and to assess how the population of the family and its dynamical clustering are preserved over Gyr timescales. We find that the family is not younger than 100 Myr, and its age is at least 1 Gyr with 95% confidence. We find that for initial velocity dispersions of 50-400 m/s, approximately 20-45% of the family members are lost to close encounters with Neptune after 3.5 Gyr of orbital evolution. We apply these loss rates to two proposed models for the formation of the Haumea family, a graze-and-merge type collision between two similarly sized, differentiated KBOs or the collisional disruption of a satellite orbiting Haumea. For the graze-and-merge collision model, we calculate that >85% of the expected mass in surviving family members within 150 m/s of the collision has been identified, but that one to two times the mass of the known family members remains to be identified at larger velocities. For the satellite-break-up model, we estimate that the currently identified family members account for ~50% of the expected mass of the family. Taking observational incompleteness into account, the observed number of Haumea family members is consistent with either formation scenario at the 1 sigma level, however both models predict more objects at larger relative velocities (>150 m/s) than have been identified.

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