Beyond Neptune lies a frigid region of the solar system called the Kuiper Belt. The thousands of minor planets that populate this region are relics from the formation of the solar system, cosmic leftovers that never became part of a larger planet. The Kuiper Belt has a rich dynamical structure that helps shed light on the processes by which the major planets formed. It also contains a small number of distant outliers whose orbits cannot be explained by interactions with the known planets in their current configurations. Professor Gerdes will describe the characteristics of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), and discuss a search for new TNOs we are conducting using data from the Dark Energy Survey. He will highlight the discovery of several new TNOs made this summer by undergraduates at Michigan.
All talks are free and refreshments will be served. Visitor parking for the seminars (Central Campus) is across the street from the Dennison Building in the U-M Church Street structure. There is a $2.00 parking charge implemented by U-M Parking Services.
For more information regarding the Saturday Morning Physics series, see the Physics Department website, or call 734.764.4437.