DPS 34th Meeting, October 2002
Session 17. Centaurs and Kuiper Belt
Poster, Chair(s): , Tuesday, October 8, 2002, 3:30-6:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[17.04] HST Broad-band V, R and I Photometry of 76 Kuiper Belt Objects

D. C. Stephens, K. S. Noll (STScI), M. Buie, W. Grundy, R. Millis, J. Spencer (Lowell), D. Cruikshank (NASA/Ames), W. Romanishin (U. OK), S. Tegler (NAU)

We present broadband Johnson-Cousins V, R and I photometry of 76 Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) during our cycle 10 WFPC2 snapshot program. These observations are part of a photometric survey to obtain V, R, I, J and H band photometry of a statistically significant sample of KBOs populating the three main dynamical classes. Of the 76 objects presented here, 64% are classical KBOs, 24% are plutinos, and the remaining 12% are scattered disk objects.

The HST snapshot mode has been ideal for collecting uniform photometry of a large number of KBOs, since these objects are scattered throughout the ecliptic. We have been able to observe very faint objects down to 25th magnitude in V, and we have identified and resolved two new binary systems (Noll et al., this meeting).

At this meeting, we will describe the details of our observing program, and the process of data reduction. We will compare the V, R and I colors with orbital parameters such as perihelion distance and inclination to look for correlations as a function of dynamical class. We will then compare and contrast these results with correlations presented by other research groups.

We also present preliminary J and H band results from our cycle 11 NICMOS snapshot program. In the future, these near infrared observations will be used to test ideas about the origin of color diversity in KBOs by searching for correlations between colors and other physical parameters such as size and orbital characteristics. This combination of infrared and optical photometry will be far more effective to understanding the complex nature of KBOs then either alone.

This research is supported by grants to STScI; GO-9060,GO-9386

If the author provided an email address or URL for general inquiries, it is as follows:


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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.