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Hueso R.,University of the Basque Country | Perez-Hoyos S.,University of the Basque Country | Sanchez-Lavega A.,University of the Basque Country | Wesley A.,Acquerra Pty. Ltd. | And 20 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2013

Context. Regular observations of Jupiter by a large number of amateur astronomers have resulted in the serendipitous discovery of short bright flashes in its atmosphere, which have been proposed as being caused by impacts of small objects. Three flashes were detected: one on June 3, 2010, one on August 20, 2010, and one on September 10, 2012. Aims. We show that the flashes are caused by impacting objects that we characterize in terms of their size, and we study the flux of small impacts on Jupiter. Methods. We measured the light curves of these atmospheric airbursts to extract their luminous energy and computed the masses and sizes of the objects. We ran simulations of impacts and compared them with the light curves. We analyzed the statistical significance of these events in the large pool of Jupiter observations. Results. All three objects are in the 5-20 m size category depending on their density, and they released energy comparable to the recent Chelyabinsk airburst. Model simulations approximately agree with the interpretation of the limited observations. Biases in observations of Jupiter suggest a rate of 12-60 similar impacts per year and we provide software tools for amateurs to examine the faint signature of impacts in their data to increase the number of detected collisions. Conclusions. The impact rate agrees with dynamical models of comets. More massive objects (a few 100 m) should impact with Jupiter every few years leaving atmospheric dark debris features that could be detectable about once per decade. © ESO, 2013. Source

Marciniak A.,Adam Mickiewicz University | Michalowski T.,Adam Mickiewicz University | Polinska M.,Adam Mickiewicz University | Bartczak P.,Adam Mickiewicz University | And 20 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2011

Context. The set of more than 100 asteroids, for which spin parameters have been modelled using an amplitude, magnitude or epoch methods, showed a pronounced gap in the distribution of the asteroid spin axes. These spin axes are rarely aligned with the ecliptic plane. Aims. The number of asteroids with known spin parameters should be increased to allow for statistical investigations. Methods. We gathered extensive photometric datasets on four selected main-belt asteroids to model their spin and shape parameters using the lightcurve inversion method. Our only criterion of selection was their observability for small telescopes. Results. All four of the modelled asteroids happened to have rotational poles that lie close to the ecliptic plane (periods and J2000 north pole coordinates): (94) Aurora -P = 7.226191 h, λp1 = 58°, βp1 = + 16°; λp2 = 242°, βp2 = + 4°; (174) Phaedra - P = 5.750249 h, λp = 265°, βp = + 5°; (679) Pax - P = 8.456016 h, λp1 = 42°, βp1 = -5°; λp2 = 220°, βp2 = + 32° (pole 2 preferred after comparison with AO-resolved observations); (714) Ulula - P = 6.998376 h, λp1 = 42°, βp1 = -9°; λp2 = 227°, βp2 = -14°. Conclusions. This work suggests that asteroid spin axes do not avoid the ecliptic plane, contrary to what the classical modelling suggested. © 2011 ESO. Source

Marciniak A.,Adam Mickiewicz University | Bartczak P.,Adam Mickiewicz University | Santana-Ros T.,Adam Mickiewicz University | Michalowski T.,Adam Mickiewicz University | And 31 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2012

Context. The shapes and spin states of asteroids observed with photometric techniques can be reconstructed using the lightcurve inversion method. The resultant models can then be confirmed or exploited further by other techniques, such as adaptive optics, radar, thermal infrared, stellar occultations, or space probe imaging. Aims. During our ongoing work to increase the set of asteroids with known spin and shape parameters, there appeared a need for displaying the model plane-of-sky orientations for specific epochs to compare models from different techniques. It would also be instructive to be able to track how the complex lightcurves are produced by various asteroid shapes. Methods. Basing our analysis on an extensive photometric observational dataset, we obtained eight asteroid models with the convex lightcurve inversion method. To enable comparison of the photometric models with those from other observing/modelling techniques, we created an on-line service where we allow the inversion models to be orientated interactively. Results. Our sample of objects is quite representative, containing both relatively fast and slow rotators with highly and lowly inclined spin axes. With this work, we increase the sample of asteroid spin and shape models based on disk-integrated photometry to over 200. Three of the shape models obtained here are confirmed by the stellar occultation data; this also allowed independent determinations of their sizes to be made. Conclusions. The ISAM service can be widely exploited for past and future asteroid observations with various, complementary techniques and for asteroid dimension determination. © 2012 ESO. Source

Hanus J.,French National Center for Space Studies | Hanus J.,University Of La Cote Dazur | urech J.,Charles University | Oszkiewicz D.A.,Adam Mickiewicz University | And 157 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2016

Context. Asteroid modeling efforts in the last decade resulted in a comprehensive dataset of almost 400 convex shape models and their rotation states. These efforts already provided deep insight into physical properties of main-belt asteroids or large collisional families. Going into finer detail (e.g., smaller collisional families, asteroids with sizes 20 km) requires knowledge of physical parameters of more objects. Aims. We aim to increase the number of asteroid shape models and rotation states. Such results provide important input for further studies, such as analysis of asteroid physical properties in different populations, including smaller collisional families, thermophysical modeling, and scaling shape models by disk-resolved images, or stellar occultation data. This provides bulk density estimates in combination with known masses, but also constrains theoretical collisional and evolutional models of the solar system. Methods. We use all available disk-integrated optical data (i.e., classical dense-in-time photometry obtained from public databases and through a large collaboration network as well as sparse-in-time individual measurements from a few sky surveys) as input for the convex inversion method, and derive 3D shape models of asteroids together with their rotation periods and orientations of rotation axes. The key ingredient is the support of more that 100 observers who submit their optical data to publicly available databases. Results. We present updated shape models for 36 asteroids, for which mass estimates are currently available in the literature, or for which masses will most likely be determined from their gravitational influence on smaller bodies whose orbital deflections will be observed by the ESA Gaia astrometric mission. Moreover, we also present new shape model determinations for 250 asteroids, including 13 Hungarias and three near-Earth asteroids. The shape model revisions and determinations were enabled by using additional optical data from recent apparitions for shape optimization. © 2016 ESO. Source

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