Pp. 95-104 (10)
Dirk C. Gibson
Centaurs, the topic of this chapter, were defined and described. Examples
were cited, including Chiron and Pholus. The number of centaurs was estimated, and
their origins were speculated upon. The unusually erratic orbit of centaurs was
documented. Potentially deleterious consequences of centaurs were identified; planetary
impacts and the generation of vast amounts of space debris. It was recognized that
centaurs are relatively little-studied astronomical phenomenon and that with experience
their erratic orbits can become better understood. Centaurs come in all sizes and many
are relatively large. It was estimated that one new centaur is created annually.
Blanco and Mayall 4 m Telescope, centaurs, Cerro Tololo Inter-
American Observatory, Chiron, cubewanos, Deep Elliptic Survey, Edgewood-
Kuiper Belt, Huffington Post, irradiated mantle, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Kitts
Peak Observatory, Neptune, perihelion, Pholus, outer planet, Saturn, scattereddisk
objects, spectral diversity, Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer.
The University of New Mexico USA.