, Volume 91, Issue 1-2, pp 109-129

On The Origin of The High-Perihelion Scattered Disk: The Role of The Kozai Mechanism And Mean Motion Resonances

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We study the transfer process from the scattered disk (SD) to the high-perihelion scattered disk (HPSD) (defined as the population with perihelion distances q > 40 AU and semimajor axes a>50 AU) by means of two different models. One model (Model 1) assumes that SD objects (SDOs) were formed closer to the Sun and driven outwards by resonant coupling with the accreting Neptune during the stage of outward migration (Gomes 2003b, Earth, Moon, Planets 92, 29–42.). The other model (Model 2) considers the observed population of SDOs plus clones that try to compensate for observational discovery bias (Fernández et al. 2004, Icarus , in press). We find that the Kozai mechanism (coupling between the argument of perihelion, eccentricity, and inclination), associated with a mean motion resonance (MMR), is the main responsible for raising both the perihelion distance and the inclination of SDOs. The highest perihelion distance for a body of our samples was found to be q = 69.2 AU. This shows that bodies can be temporarily detached from the planetary region by dynamical interactions with the planets. This phenomenon is temporary since the same coupling of Kozai with a MMR will at some point bring the bodies back to states of lower-q values. However, the dynamical time scale in high-q states may be very long, up to several Gyr. For Model 1, about 10% of the bodies driven away by Neptune get trapped into the HPSD when the resonant coupling Kozai-MMR is disrupted by Neptune’s migration. Therefore, Model 1 also supplies a fossil HPSD, whose bodies remain in non-resonant orbits and thus stable for the age of the solar system, in addition to the HPSD formed by temporary captures of SDOs after the giant planets reached their current orbits. We find that about 12 – 15% of the surviving bodies of our samples are incorporated into the HPSD after about 4 – 5 Gyr, and that a large fraction of the captures occur for up to the 1:8 MMR (a ⋍ 120 AU), although we record captures up to the 1:24 MMR (a ≃ 260 AU). Because of the Kozai mechanism, HPSD objects have on average inclinations about 25°–50°, which are higher than those of the classical Edgeworth–Kuiper (EK) belt or the SD. Our results suggest that Sedna belongs to a dynamically distinct population from the HPSD, possibly being a member of the inner core of the Oort cloud. As regards to 2000 CR105 , it is marginally within the region occupied by HPSD objects in the parametric planes (q,a) and (a,i), so it is not ruled out that it might be a member of the HPSD, though it might as well belong to the inner core.