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Collisional Grooming Models of the Kuiper Belt Dust CloudWe modeled the three-dimensional structure of the Kuiper Belt (KB) dust cloud at four different dust production rates, incorporating both planet-dust interactions and grain-grain collisions using the collisional grooming algorithm. Simulated images of a model with a face-on optical depth of approximately 10 (exp -4) primarily show an azimuthally- symmetric ring at 40-47 AU in submillimeter and infrared wavelengths; this ring is associated with the cold classical KB. For models with lower optical depths (10 (exp -6) and 10 (exp-7)), synthetic infrared images show that the ring widens and a gap opens in the ring at the location of Neptune; this feature is caused by trapping of dust grains in Neptune's mean motion resonances. At low optical depths, a secondary ring also appears associated with the hole cleared in the center of the disk by Saturn. Our simulations, which incorporate 25 different grain sizes, illustrate that grain-grain collisions are important in sculpting today's KB dust, and probably other aspects of the solar system dust complex; collisions erase all signs of azimuthal asymmetry from the submillimeter image of the disk at every dust level we considered. The model images switch from being dominated by resonantly trapped small grains ("transport dominated") to being dominated by the birth ring ("collision dominated") when the optical depth reaches a critical value of r approximately v/c, where v is the local Keplerian speed.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Kuchner, Marc J.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Stark, Christopher C.
(Maryland Univ. Baltimore, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2010
Subject Category
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