Beyond the Kuiper Belt edge: New high perihelion trans-neptunian objects with moderate semimajor axes and eccentricities

Scott S. Sheppard, Chadwick Trujillo, David J. Tholen

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26 Scopus citations


We are conducting a survey for distant solar system objects beyond the Kuiper Belt edge (∼50 au) with new wide-field cameras on the Subaru and CTIO telescopes. We are interested in the orbits of objects that are decoupled from the giant planet region to understand the structure of the outer solar system, including whether a massive planet exists beyond a few hundred astronomical units as first reported in 2014 by Trujillo & Sheppard. In addition to discovering extreme trans-Neptunian objects detailed elsewhere, we found several objects with high perihelia (q > 40 au) that differ from the extreme and inner Oort cloud objects due to their moderate semimajor axes (50 < a < 100 au) and eccentricities (e ≲ 0.3). Newly discovered objects 2014 FZ71 and 2015 FJ345 have the third and fourth highest perihelia known after Sedna and 2012 VP113, yet their orbits are not nearly as eccentric or distant. We found several of these high-perihelion but moderate orbit objects and observe that they are mostly near Neptune mean motion resonances (MMRs) and have significant inclinations (i > 20°). These moderate objects likely obtained their unusual orbits through combined interactions with Neptune's MMRs and the Kozai resonance, similar to the origin scenarios for 2004 XR190. We also find the distant 2008 ST291 has likely been modified by the MMR+KR mechanism through the 6:1 Neptune resonance. We discuss these moderately eccentric distant objects along with some other interesting low inclination outer classical belt objects like 2012 FH84 discovered in our ongoing survey.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL13
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Kuiper Belt: general
  • Oort Cloud
  • comets: general
  • minor planets, asteroids: general
  • planets and satellites: individual (Sedna, 2012 VP113, 2004 XR190)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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