Scattered Disk Objects

Scattered disk objects are Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) with large orbital eccentricities. They have perihelia between 30 and 48 AU, aphelia greater than 60 AU, and were probably flung into their current orbits during the early Solar System through gravitational interactions with the giant planets.

It is thought that the current population of the scattered disk is only about 1% of what it was in the early Solar System. Gravitational interactions with Neptune in particular can increase the semi-major axis of scattered disk objects enormously, effectively ejecting them from the Solar System. Alternatively, such interactions may pull scattered disk objects further into the Solar System, where they most likely become Centaurs for a period of time.

There are just over 150 scattered disk objects and Centaurs currently known.

Study Astronomy Online at Swinburne University
All material is © Swinburne University of Technology except where indicated.