Scattered Kuiper Belt Objects

Objects in eccentric orbits (up to 0.8) having perihelia beyond 30 AU. They also tend to be inclined to the ecliptic by several 10s of degrees. Their defining characteristic is that gravitational perturbations from Neptune, at perihelion, seem sufficient to have pumped up the eccentricities to the observed large values (hence the term "scattered"). They are not protected from Neptune, in general, and this is a population that appears to be leaking away over the age of the Solar system.

They are also known as "scattered disk objects", although this is a poor term because their large inclinations do not much resemble a disk.

The first recognised example was 1996 TL66 (eccentricity = 0.6, perihelion distance = 35 AU, diameter = 600 km).

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e-mail: David Jewitt