Dynamical classification of trans-neptunian objects: Probing their origin, evolution, and interrelation
The orbital structure of trans-neptunian objects (TNOs) in the trans-neptunian belt (Edgeworth-Kuiper belt) and scattered disk provides important clues to understand the origin and evolution of the Solar System. To better characterize these populations, we performed computer simulations of currently observed objects using long-arc orbits and several thousands of clones. Our preliminary analysis identified 622 TNOs, and 65 non-resonant objects whose orbits penetrate that of at least one of the giant planets within 1 Myr (the centaurs). In addition, we identified 196 TNOs locked in resonances with Neptune, which, sorted by distance from the Sun, are 1:1 (Neptune trojans), 5:4, 4:3, 11:8, 3:2, 18:11, 5:3, 12:7, 19:11, 7:4, 9:5, 11:6, 2:1, 9:4, 16:7, 7:3, 12:5, 5:2, 8:3, 3:1, 4:1, 11:2, and 27:4. Kozai resonant TNOs are found inside the 3:2, 5:3, 7:4, and 2:1 resonances. We present detailed general features for the resonant populations (i.e., libration amplitude angles, libration centers, Kozai libration amplitudes, etc.). Taking together the simulations of Lykawka and Mukai [Lykawka, P.S., Mukai, T., 2007. Icarus 186, 331-341], an improved classification scheme is presented revealing five main classes: centaurs, resonant, scattered, detached and classical TNOs. Scattered and detached TNOs (non-resonant) have q (perihelion distance) <37 AU and q>40 AU, respectively. TNOs with 37 AU<q<40 AU occupy an intermediate region where both classes coexist. Thus, there are no clear boundaries between the scattered and detached regions. We also securely identified a total of 9 detached TNOs by using 4-5 Gyr orbital integrations. Classical objects are non-resonant TNOs usually divided into cold and hot populations. Their boundaries are as follows: cold classical TNOs ( i⩽5°) are located at 37 AU<a<40 AU ( q>37 AU) and 42 AU<a<47.5 AU ( q>38 AU), and hot classical TNOs ( i>5°) occupy orbits with 37 AU<a<47.5 AU ( q>37 AU). However, a more firm classification is found with i>10° for hot classical TNOs. Lastly, we discuss some implications of our classification scheme comparing all TNOs with our model and other past models.