CfA Colloquium Schedule Spring 2005
 27 January 2005

27 January 2005

Speaker: Renu Malhotra (University of Arizona)

Title: The Kuiper Belt as a Planetary Debris Disk

Abstract: The Kuiper belt, and more generally, the solar system debris disk, was likely 10-30 times more massive in the early solar system 4-5 Gyr ago than it is at present. Several dynamical subpopulations have been identified within the remnant Kuiper Belt that we observe today. Current theoretical models interpret this dynamical structure in terms of a large scale orbital migration of the giant planets facilitated by a massive debris disk during the late stages of planet formation; stellar encounters and rogue planets are also under consideration to explain some of the puzzles presented by the Kuiper Belt. This colloquium will provide an overview of our current understanding of the 4.5 Gyr history of the solar system debris disk, including the evolution of its dusty component.

References for students:

  1. Malhotra, R., Migrating Planets, Scientific American, 281(3):56-63 (1999)
  2. Brown, M., The Kuiper Belt, Physics Today, 55(4):49-54 (April 2004)
  3. Moro-Martin, A. and Malhotra, R., Dynamical models of Kuiper Belt Dust in the inner and outer Solar system, Astron. J., 125:2255-2265 (2003)


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