Large bodies in the Kuiper Belt

Chadwick A. Trujillo, Luu Jane X, A. S. Bosh, J. L. Elliot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


We present a survey for bright Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) and Centaurs, conducted at the Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) 0.9 m telescope with the KPNO 8K Mosaic CCD. The survey imaged 164 deg2 near opposition to a limiting red magnitude of 21.1. Three bright KBOs and one Centaur were found, the brightest KBO having red magnitude 19.7, about 700 km in diameter, assuming a dark Centaur-like 4% albedo. We estimate the power-law differential size distribution of the classical KBOs to have index q = 4.2+0.4-0.3, with the total number of classical KBOs with diameters larger than 100 km equal to 4.7+1.6-1.0 × 104. Additionally, we find that if there is a maximum object size in the Kuiper Belt, it must be larger than 1000 km in diameter. By extending our model to larger size bodies, we estimate that 30+16-12 Charon-sized and 3.2+2.8-1.7 Pluto-sized classical KBOs remain undiscovered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2740-2748
Number of pages9
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Comets: General
  • Kuiper belt
  • Oort cloud
  • Solar system: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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