Abstract by Seth Pincock
Physics and Astronomy
Spin Dynamics of Trans-Neptunian Triple 47171 Lempo
The triple system 47171 Lempo (1999 TC36) is very unique in the Kuiper Belt, which is a collection of small, icy objects past the orbit of Neptune. The system consists of a close-proximity binary, with both bodies possessing nearly identical mass. The binary is orbited by a single moon. Because of the unique configuration of the system, especially the close proximity of the inner binary, the orbits are complicated and cannot be modeled using Keplerian dynamics. Using ground-based observational data and data from the Hubble Space Telescope, we attempt to generate an accurate, fully non-Keplerian solution of the orbits of the triple system. Our simulations not only utilize a three-body integration of the entire system but also include the effects of the bodies’ spins on the overall dynamics of the system in order to create as accurate a model as possible. Understanding the orbits and masses of this system will help us understand how the system was formed, with implications for the formation and evolution of the outer solar system.