Simulations of the population of Centaurs  I. The bulk statistics
Abstract
Largescale simulations of the Centaur population are carried out. The evolution of 23328 particles based on the orbits of 32 wellknown Centaurs is followed for up to 3 Myr in the forward and backward direction under the influence of the four massive planets. The objects exhibit a rich variety of dynamical behaviour with halflives ranging from 540 kyr (1996AR20) to 32 Myr (2000FZ53). The mean halflife of the entire sample of Centaurs is 2.7 Myr. The data are analysed using a classification scheme based on the controlling planets at perihelion and aphelion, previously given in Horner et al. Transfer probabilities are computed and show the main dynamical pathways of the Centaur population. The total number of Centaurs with diameters larger than 1 km is estimated as ~44300, assuming an inward flux of one new shortperiod comet every 200 yr. The flux into the Centaur region from the EdgeworthKuiper Belt is estimated to be one new object every 125 yr. Finally, the flux from the Centaur region to Earthcrossing orbits is one new Earthcrosser every 880 yr.
 Publication:

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
 Pub Date:
 November 2004
 DOI:
 10.1111/j.13652966.2004.08240.x
 arXiv:
 arXiv:astroph/0407400
 Bibcode:
 2004MNRAS.354..798H
 Keywords:

 stellar dynamics;
 celestial mechanics;
 Kuiper belt;
 minor planets;
 asteroids;
 planets and satellites: general;
 Astrophysics
 EPrint:
 15 pages, 2 figures, MNRAS in press