Detectability of Distant TNOs
Session 4.03 Surveys
Tuesday 06-25 | 11:40 - 12:00

Modern surveys allow us to probe parts of the Trans-Neptunian region that have never been available to us in such detail before. The Kuiper belt has an abrupt point where the density of cold classical objects drops to effectively zero at ~47 au. What is not known is why there is a lack of low inclination material beyond this point. Looking at exoplanetary systems and their protoplanetary disks reveals structure far larger than that seen in the Solar System, often with disks extending to over 100 au. These disk systems often have rings and other complicated structures that are not present in the Solar System. As such, while there are no confirmed detections of any large-scale distant ring or disk-like populations, there exists compelling evidence that structure could exist at extreme solar distances.

In this work we combine the survey characterizations for the Large inclination Distant Objects (LiDO) survey, the New Horizons (NH) Subaru search, and the Classical and Large-A Solar SYstem (CLASSY) survey, along with the OSSOS++ (Outer Solar System Origins Survey) surveys. Using these characterizations and the OSSOS Survey Simulator we will place constraints on distant populations of TNOs. The Survey Simulator allows the comparison of intrinsic models of the Solar System to biased survey data. In practice the Survey Simulator applies the same bias present in a survey to the intrinsic model. This biased model can then be compared directly to actual observation.

Due to the extreme faintness of TNOs at large heliocentric distances, an extremely significant population of objects could exist at distances as close as 80 au with populations rivaling the size of the known Kuiper belt while still escaping detection. This work will explore the limits placed on such populations as imposed by our surveys.

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