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Dwarf planets and K.B.O's

  1. May 9, 2009 #1
    I haven't got an answer to my last post but i've got another question.
    What gasses are present in the dwarf planets and other larger kuiperbelt objects?Are they simmilar to the gasses in the gas giant?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2009 #2

    mgb_phys

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    Kuiper belt objects are rocks, only the largest would hold onto any gas at all.
    Neptune's moon Titan is probably a KBO that got caught - it has a very tiny atmosphere
     
  4. May 11, 2009 #3
    thanks mgb_phys. So, if the larger bodies can hold on to gas, then what would happen to the gas if it was heated sufficiently to "de-frost" it? Would you expect to see something simmilar to Pluto when it slips inside Neptunes orbit (Very thin, unstable atmosphere)?
     
  5. May 11, 2009 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    I think you mean Triton.
     
  6. May 11, 2009 #5

    mgb_phys

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    It would boil off into space. The smaller objects don't have any gas to start with. Rocks don't come with gas - they rely on their gravity to pick up and hold onto any gas that is around.

    Oops - these Greek gods all sound alike!
     
  7. May 13, 2009 #6
    Is it possible by a freak case, if the gravity of the sun closest to this body is strong enough, that the body could become a comet or an asteroid?
     
  8. May 14, 2009 #7

    mgb_phys

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    They already are asteroids.
    A comet is just an asteroid that approaches close to the sun, so yes one of these objects could be perturbed by the motion of some other nearby object and become a comet.
    But it seems that the orbits in the kuiper belt are for some reason very stable, most comets are produced from a similair but much more distant belt of rocks - the Oort cloud.
     
  9. May 29, 2009 #8
    Spectroscopically some KBOs are dominated by nitrogen ice, others by methane ice, and some water or carbon dioxide ices. Neither of the last two have appreciable vapour pressures at the orbit of Neptune and beyond and so don't produce atmospheres on KBOs, but the other two do and so that's what the atmospheres of Triton, Pluto and probably Eris are dominated by. Objects smaller than that are too light to retain the gases even briefly and lose them directly to space.

    Theoretically larger objects exist in the Opik-Oort Cloud, thrown out there by the formation and migration of Uranus and Neptune. Mars-to-Earth mass objects might still be out there and they should retain some of what is called the "Primary atmosphere", which is a mixture of hydrogen and helium grabbed straight from the Solar Nebula. The Inner Planets probably all briefly had Primary atmospheres, but lost them to the enhanced Solar-Wind phase of the Sun's early life.
     
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