Neptune’s 5:2 Resonance in the Kuiper Belt

Observations of Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) in Neptune’s 5:2 resonance present two puzzles: this third-order resonance hosts a surprisingly large population, comparable to the prominent populations of Plutinos and Twotinos in the first order 3:2 and 2:1 resonances, respectively; second, their eccentricities are concentrated near 0.4. To shed light on these puzzles, we investigate the phase space near this resonance with use of Poincaré sections of the circular planar restricted three-body model. We find several transitions in the phase space structure with increasing eccentricity, which we explain with the properties of the resonant orbit relative to Neptune’s. The resonance width is narrow for very small eccentricities but widens dramatically for e ≳ 0.2, reaching a maximum near e  ≈ 0.4, where it is similar to the maximum widths of the 2:1 and 3:2 resonances. We confirm these results with N -body numerical simulations, including the effects of all four giant …


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