Visible and infrared photometry of Kuiper Belt objects: searching for evidence of trends

McBride, Neil; Green, Simon F.; Davies, John K.; Tholen, David J.; Sheppard, Scott S.; Whiteley, Robert J. and Hillier, Jon K. (2003). Visible and infrared photometry of Kuiper Belt objects: searching for evidence of trends. Icarus, 161(2) pp. 501–510.



We present new visible–infrared (V−J) observations of 17 Kuiper Belt objects, of which 14 were observed in the visible and infrared wavebands simultaneously to limit the effects of lightcurve variations. Combining these data with our previously published visible–infrared data provides a dataset of 29 objects, 25 of which offer simultaneous V−J colors. We examine the resulting dataset for evidence of relationships between physical properties and orbital characteristics. We find no evidence of a color–size relationship (as previously suspected), at least over the size range sampled. The dataset supports the trend, reported elsewhere, that there is a predominance of red material on the surfaces of objects having perihelia beyond 40 AU. Our data are also supportive, albeit weakly, of a reported correlation between inclination and color in the classical Kuiper Belt — although it is perhaps more correct to say that our data show that there appears to be a lack of low inclination blue objects. Our V−J colors appear broadly correlated with published optical colors, thus suggesting that the surfaces of Kuiper Belt objects are subject to a single reddening agent.

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