OSSOS: The eccentricity and inclination distributions of the stable Neptunian Trojans

Hsing Wen Lin, Ying Tung Chen, Kathryn Volk, Brett Gladman, Ruth Murray-Clay, Mike Alexandersen, Michele T. Bannister, Samantha M. Lawler, Wing Huen Ip, Patryk Sofia Lykawka, J. J. Kavelaars, Stephen D.J. Gwyn, Jean Marc Petit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The minor planets on orbits that are dynamically stable in Neptune's 1:1 resonance on Gyr timescales were likely em:laced by Neptune's outward migration. We explore the intrinsic libration amplitude, eccentricity, and inclination distribution of Neptune's stable Trojans, using the detections and survey efficiency of the Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS) and Pan-STARRS1. We find that the libration amplitude of the stable Neptunian Trojan population can be well modeled as a Rayleigh distribution with a libration amplitude width σAϕ of 15°. When taken as a whole, the Neptune Trojan population can be acceptably modeled with a Rayleigh eccentricity distribution of width σe of 0.045 and a typical sin(i) × Gaussian inclination distribution with a width σi of 14±2; however, these distributions are only marginally acceptable. This is likely because, even after accounting for survey detection biases, the known large (Hr<8) and small (Hr≥8) Neptune Trojans appear to have markedly different eccentricities and inclinations. We propose that like the classical Kuiper belt, the stable intrinsic Neptunian Trojan population have dynamically ‘hot’ and dynamically ‘cold’ components to its eccentricity/inclination distribution, with σe−cold∼0.02/σi−cold∼6° and σe−hot∼0.05/σi−hot∼18°. In this scenario, the ‘cold’ L4 Neptunian Trojan population lacks the Hr≥8.0 members and has 13−6+11 ‘cold’ Trojans with Hr<8.0. On the other hand, the ‘hot’ L4 Neptunian Trojan population has 136−75+84 Trojans with Hr<10 — a population 2.4 times greater than that of the L4 Jovian Trojans in the same luminosity range.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114391
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Kuiper belt
  • Minor planet
  • Neptune Trojan
  • surveys


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