TNOs are cool: A survey of the trans-Neptunian region. V. Physical characterization of 18 Plutinos using Herschel-PACS observations
Context. The Herschel open time key programme TNOs are Cool: A survey of the trans-Neptunian region aims to derive physical and thermal properties for a set of ~140 Centaurs and trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), including resonant, classical, detached and scattered disk objects. One goal of the project is to determine albedo and size distributions for specific classes and the overall population of TNOs.
Aims: We present Herschel-PACS photometry of 18 Plutinos and determine sizes and albedos for these objects using thermal modeling. We analyze our results for correlations, draw conclusions on the Plutino size distribution, and compare to earlier results.
Methods: Flux densities are derived from PACS mini scan-maps using specialized data reduction and photometry methods. In order to improve the quality of our results, we combine our PACS data with existing Spitzer MIPS data where possible, and refine existing absolute magnitudes for the targets. The physical characterization of our sample is done using a thermal model. Uncertainties of the physical parameters are derived using customized Monte Carlo methods. The correlation analysis is performed using a bootstrap Spearman rank analysis.
Results: We find the sizes of our Plutinos to range from 150 to 730 km and geometric albedos to vary between 0.04 and 0.28. The average albedo of the sample is 0.08 ± 0.03, which is comparable to the mean albedo of Centaurs, Jupiter family comets and other TNOs. We were able to calibrate the Plutino size scale for the first time and find the cumulative Plutino size distribution to be best fit using a cumulative power law with q = 2 at sizes ranging from 120-400 km and q = 3 at larger sizes. We revise the bulk density of 1999 TC36 and find ρ = 0.64-0.11+0.15 g cm-3. On the basis of a modified Spearman rank analysis technique our Plutino sample appears to be biased with respect to object size but unbiased with respect to albedo. Furthermore, we find biases based on geometrical aspects and color in our sample. There is qualitative evidence that icy Plutinos have higher albedos than the average of the sample.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- May 2012
- Kuiper belt: general;
- infrared: planetary systems;
- methods: observational;
- techniques: photometric;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- 18 pages, 8 figures, 8 tables, accepted for publication in A&