On the detection of two new trans-Neptunian binaries from the CFEPS Kuiper belt survey

H. W. Lin, J. J. Kavelaars, W. H. Ip, B. J. Gladman, J. M. Petit, R. L. Jones, Joel W. Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We report here the discovery of new near-equal-mass trans-Neptunian Binary (TNB) L5c02 and the the putative detection of a second TNB (L4k12) among the detections in the second and third years of the Canada-France Ecliptic Plane Survey (CFEPS). These new binaries (internal designations L4k12 and L5c02) have moderate separations of 0.4″ and 0.6″, respectively. The follow-up observation confirmed the binarity of L5c02, but L4k12 still lacks follow-up observations. L4k12 has a heliocentric orbital inclination of ∼35°, marking this system as having the highest heliocentric orbital inclination among known near-equal-mass binaries. Both systems are members of the classical main Kuiper belt population. Based on the sample of objects searched, we determine that the fraction of near-equal-mass wide binaries with separations >0.4″ is 1.5% to 20% in the cold main classical Kuiper belt, and if our detection of the binarity L4k12 holds, 3% to 43% in the hot main classical objects are binary. In this article we describe our detection process, the sample of objects surveyed, and our confirmation observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1030-1034
Number of pages5
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number895
StatePublished - Sep 2010


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