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Mass of the Kuiper belt

E. V.  Pitjeva, N. P. Pitjev

Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, 130(9), 57 (2018)

DOI: 10.1007/s10569-018-9853-5

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The Kuiper belt includes tens of thousand of large bodies and millions of smaller objects. The main part of the belt objects is located in the annular zone between 39.4 and 47.8 au from the Sun; the boundaries correspond to the average distances for orbital resonances 3:2 and 2:1 with the motion of Neptune. One-dimensional, two-dimensional, and discrete rings to model the total gravitational attraction of numerous belt objects are considered. The discrete rotating model most correctly reflects the real interaction of bodies in the Solar system. The masses of the model rings were determined within EPM2017—the new version of ephemerides of planets and the Moon at IAA RAS—by fitting spacecraft ranging observations. The total mass of the Kuiper belt was calculated as the sum of the masses of the 31 largest trans-Neptunian objects directly included in the simultaneous integration and the estimated mass of the model of the discrete ring of TNO. The total mass is $(1.97 \pm 0.35)\times 10^{−2} m_{\otimes}$. The gravitational influence of the Kuiper belt on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune exceeds at times the attraction of the hypothetical 9th planet with a mass of ∼ $10 m_{\otimes}$ at the distances assumed for it. It is necessary to take into account the gravitational influence of the Kuiper belt when processing observations and only then to investigate residual discrepancies to discover a possible influence of a distant large planet.