OSSOS. IX. Two Objects in Neptune's 9:1 Resonance - Implications for Resonance Sticking in the Scattering Population

Kathryn Volk, Ruth A. Murray-Clay, Brett J. Gladman, Samantha M. Lawler, Tze Yeung Mathew Yu, Mike Alexandersen, Michele T. Bannister, Ying Tung Chen, Rebekah I. Dawson, Sarah Greenstreet, Stephen D.J. Gwyn, J. J. Kavelaars, Hsing Wen Lin, Patryk Sofia Lykawka, Jean Marc Petit

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25 Scopus citations


We discuss the detection in the Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS) of two objects in Neptune's distant 9:1 mean motion resonance at semimajor axis a ≈ 130 au. Both objects are securely resonant on 10 Myr timescales, with one securely in the 9:1 resonance's leading asymmetric libration island and the other in either the symmetric or trailing asymmetric island. These objects are the largest semimajor axis objects with secure resonant classifications, and their detection in a carefully characterized survey allows for the first robust resonance population estimate beyond 100 au. The detection of these objects implies a 9:1 resonance population of 1.1 × 104 objects with H r < 8.66 (D100 km) on similar orbits (95% confidence range of ∼(0.4-3) × 104). Integrations over 4 Gyr of an ensemble of clones spanning these objects' orbit-fit uncertainties reveal that they both have median resonance occupation timescales of ∼1 Gyr. These timescales are consistent with the hypothesis that these objects originate in the scattering population but became transiently stuck to Neptune's 9:1 resonance within the last ∼1 Gyr of solar system evolution. Based on simulations of a model of the current scattering population, we estimate the expected resonance sticking population in the 9:1 resonance to be 1000-4500 objects with H r < 8.66; this is marginally consistent with the OSSOS 9:1 population estimate. We conclude that resonance sticking is a plausible explanation for the observed 9:1 population, but we also discuss the possibility of a primordial 9:1 population, which would have interesting implications for the Kuiper Belt's dynamical history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number260
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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