A New Dynamical Class in the Outer Solar System

J. Luu (Harvard University), B. Marsden (Center for Astrophysics), D. Jewitt, C. Trujillo, J. Chen (University of Hawaii)

We report the discovery of 1996 TL tex2html_wrap_inline17 , perhaps the first detected member of a scattered component of the trans-Neptunian population (which we label Scattered Kuiper Belt objects, or SKBOs for short). At red magnitude tex2html_wrap_inline19 , TL tex2html_wrap_inline17 is the brightest trans-Neptunian found in recent years; with an assumed albedo of 4 tex2html_wrap_inline23 , its diameter is 490 km. The eccentric orbit of TL tex2html_wrap_inline17 carries it as far as tex2html_wrap_inline27 AU at aphelion, suggesting that the Kuiper Belt population extends much further than the 30-50 AU region sampled by previous surveys. Discovery statistics imply that there are tex2html_wrap_inline29 objects like TL tex2html_wrap_inline17 . Details and implications of the discovery can be found in Luu et al., Nature, June 1997.