We have analyzed the first 3.75 years of data from the Taiwanese American Occultation Survey (TAOS). TAOS monitors bright stars to search for occultations by Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs). This data set comprises 5 × 105 star hours of multi-telescope photometric data taken at 4 or 5 Hz. No events consistent with KBO occultations were found in this data set. We compute the number of events expected for the Kuiper Belt formation and evolution models of Pan & Sari, Kenyon & Bromley, Benavidez & Campo Bagatin, and Fraser. A comparison with the upper limits we derive from our data constrains the parameter space of these models. This is the first detailed comparison of models of the KBO size distribution with data from an occultation survey. Our results suggest that the KBO population is composed of objects with low internal strength and that planetary migration played a role in the shaping of the size distribution.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science