Trans-Neptunian objects with Hubble Space Telescope ACS/WFC

Cesar I. Fuentes, Matthew J. Holman, David E. Trilling, Pavlos Protopapas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We introduce a novel search technique that can identify trans-Neptunian objects in three to five exposures of a pointing within a single Hubble Space Telescope (HST) orbit. The process is fast enough to allow the discovery of candidates soon after the data are available. This allows sufficient time to schedule follow-up observations with HST within a month. We report the discovery of 14 slow-moving objects found within 57deg; of the ecliptic in archival data taken with the Wide Field Channel of the Advanced Camera for Surveys. The luminosity function of these objects is consistent with previous ground-based and space-based results. We show evidence that the size distribution of both high and low inclination populations is similar for objects smaller than 100 km, as expected from collisional evolution models, while their size distribution differs for brighter objects. We suggest that the two populations formed in different parts of the protoplanetary disk and after being dynamically mixed have collisionally evolved together. Among the objects discovered there is an equal-mass binary with an angular separation ∼0″.53.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1290-1302
Number of pages13
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 20 2010


  • Celestial mechanics
  • Kuiper belt: general
  • Methods: observational
  • Planets and satellites: formation
  • Surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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