CfA Colloquium Schedule Fall 2010
 28 October 2010

28 October 2010

Speaker: Emily Schaller (University of Arizona)

Title:Understanding the Surfaces of Kuiper Belt Objects

Abstract:Nearly 1500 objects have now been discovered orbiting the sun near or beyond the orbit of Neptune. While the orbits of these Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) have provided many insights into the early dynamical history of the solar system, detailed physical and chemical studies of individual objects with large telescopes are now beginning to yield valuable information about their formation and evolution. Observations across a range of sizes and dynamical classes have revealed a surprising diversity of surface types. From surfaces coated with supervolatile ices, to those with nearly pure crystalline water ice, the diversity of KBO surfaces provide us with natural laboratories on which to explore processes occurring in the outer solar system. This talk will focus on recent observations of KBO surfaces (including visible and near infrared spectroscopy and photometry) with the goal of understanding what these observations can tell us about the chemical, thermal, and collisional history of the outer solar system.

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