Rancho Cucamonga, CA, United States
Rancho Cucamonga, CA, United States

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Pravec P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Scheirich P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Vokrouhlicky D.,Charles University | Harris A.W.,4603 Orange Knoll Avenue | And 43 more authors.
Icarus | Year: 2012

Our photometric observations of 18 main-belt binary systems in more than one apparition revealed a strikingly high number of 15 having positively re-observed mutual events in the return apparitions. Our simulations of the survey showed that it cannot be due to an observational selection effect and that the data strongly suggest that poles of mutual orbits between components of binary asteroids in the primary size range 3-8. km are not distributed randomly: The null hypothesis of an isotropic distribution of the orbit poles is rejected at a confidence level greater than 99.99%. Binary orbit poles concentrate at high ecliptic latitudes, within 30° of the poles of the ecliptic. We propose that the binary orbit poles oriented preferentially up/down-right are due to either of the two processes: (i) the YORP tilt of spin axes of their parent bodies toward the asymptotic states near obliquities 0° and 180° (pre-formation mechanism) or (ii) the YORP tilt of spin axes of the primary components of already formed binary systems toward the asymptotic states near obliquities 0° and 180° (post-formation mechanism). The alternative process of elimination of binaries with poles closer to the ecliptic by dynamical instability, such as the Kozai effect due to gravitational perturbations from the Sun, does not explain the observed orbit pole concentration. This is because for close binary asteroid systems, the gravitational effects of primary's irregular shape dominate the solar-tide effect. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Pravec P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Scheirich P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Kusnirak P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Hornoch K.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | And 48 more authors.
Icarus | Year: 2016

We collected data on rotations and elongations of 46 secondaries of binary and triple systems among near-Earth, Mars-crossing and small main belt asteroids. 24 were found or are strongly suspected to be synchronous (in 1:1 spin-orbit resonance), and the other 22, generally on more distant and/or eccentric orbits, were found or are suggested to have asynchronous rotations. For 18 of the synchronous secondaries, we constrained their librational angles, finding that their long axes pointed to within 20° of the primary on most epochs. The observed anti-correlation of secondary synchroneity with orbital eccentricity and the limited librational angles agree with the theories by Ćuk and Nesvorný (Ćuk, M., Nesvorný, D. [2010]. Icarus 207, 732-743) and Naidu and Margot (Naidu, S.P., Margot, J.-L. [2015]. Astron. J. 149, 80). A reason for the asynchronous secondaries being on wider orbits than synchronous ones may be longer tidal circularization time scales at larger semi-major axes. The asynchronous secondaries show relatively fast spins; their rotation periods are typically <10 h. An intriguing observation is a paucity of chaotic secondary rotations; with an exception of (35107) 1991 VH, the secondary rotations are single-periodic with no signs of chaotic rotation and their periods are constant on timescales from weeks to years. The secondary equatorial elongations show an upper limit of a2/b2~1.5. The lack of synchronous secondaries with greater elongations appears consistent, considering uncertainties of the axis ratio estimates, with the theory by Ćuk and Nesvorný that predicts large regions of chaotic rotation in the phase space for a2/b2≳2. Alternatively, secondaries may not form or stay very elongated in gravitational (tidal) field of the primary. It could be due to the secondary fission mechanism suggested by Jacobson and Scheeres (Jacobson, S.A., Scheeres, D.J. [2011]. Icarus 214, 161-178), as its efficiency is correlated with the secondary elongation. Sharma (Sharma, I. [2014]. Icarus 229, 278-294) found that rubble-pile satellites with a2/b2≲1.5 are more stable to finite structural perturbations than more elongated ones. It appears that more elongated secondaries, if they originally formed in spin fission of parent asteroid, are less likely to survive intact and they more frequently fail or fission. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.


Becker T.M.,University of Central Florida | Howell E.S.,Arecibo Observatory Universities Space Research Association | Nolan M.C.,Arecibo Observatory Universities Space Research Association | Magri C.,University of Maine at Farmington | And 17 more authors.
Icarus | Year: 2015

We report radar observations (2380-MHz, 13-cm) by the Arecibo Observatory and optical light curves observed from eight different observatories and collected at the Ondřejov Observatory of the triple near-Earth asteroid system (153591) 2001 SN263. The radar observations were obtained over the course of ten nights spanning February 12-26, 2008 and the light curve observations were made throughout January 12 - March 31, 2008. Both data sets include observations during the object's close approach of 0.06558AU on February 20th, 2008. The delay-Doppler images revealed the asteroid to be comprised of three components, making it the first known triple near-Earth asteroid. Only one other object, (136617) 1994 CC is a confirmed triple near-Earth asteroid.We present physical models of the three components of the asteroid system. We constrain the primary's pole direction to an ecliptic longitude and latitude of (309°, -80°)±15°. We find that the primary rotates with a period 3.4256±0.0002h and that the larger satellite has a rotation period of 13.43±0.01h, considerably shorter than its orbital period of approximately 6days. We find that the rotation period of the smaller satellite is consistent with a tidally locked state and therefore rotates with a period of 0.686±0.002 days (Fang et al. [2011]. Astron. J. 141, 154-168). The primary, the larger satellite, and the smaller satellite have equivalent diameters of 2.5±0.3km, 0.77±0.12km, 0.43±0.14km and densities of 1.1±0.2g/cm3, 1.0±0.4g/cm3, 2.3±1.3g/cm3, respectively. © 2014 The Authors.


French L.M.,Illinois Wesleyan University | Stephens R.D.,Center for Solar System Studies | Coley D.,Center for Solar System Studies | Wasserman L.H.,Lowell Observatory | Sieben J.,Illinois Wesleyan University
Icarus | Year: 2015

Several lines of evidence support a common origin for, and possible hereditary link between, cometary nuclei and jovian Trojan asteroids. Due to their distance and low albedos, few comet-sized Trojans have been studied. We present new lightcurve information for 19 Trojans. ≲. 30. km in diameter, more than doubling the number of objects in this size range for which some rotation information is known. The minimum densities for objects with complete lightcurves are estimated and are found to be comparable to those measured for cometary nuclei. A significant fraction (~40%) of this observed small Trojan population rotates slowly (P> 24 h), with measured periods as long as 375. h (Warner, B.D., Stephens, R.D. [2011]. Minor Planet Bull. 38, 110-111). The excess of slow rotators may be due to the YORP effect. Results of the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test suggest that the distribution of Trojan rotation rates is dissimilar to those of Main Belt Asteroids of the same size. Concerted observations of a large number of Trojans could establish the spin barrier (Warner, B.D., Harris, A.W., Pravec, P. [2009]. Icarus 202, 134-146), making it possible to estimate densities for objects near the critical period. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.


Hanus J.,Charles University | Broz M.,Charles University | Durech J.,Charles University | Warner B.D.,Palmer Divide Observatory | And 8 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2013

Context. The current number of ∼500 asteroid models derived from the disk-integrated photometry by the lightcurve inversion method allows us to study the spin-vector properties of not only the whole population of main-belt asteroids, but also of several individual collisional families. Aims. We create a data set of 152 asteroids that were identified by the hierarchical clustering method (HCM) as members of ten collisional families, among which are 31 newly derived unique models and 24 new models with well-constrained pole-ecliptic latitudes of the spin axes. The remaining models are adopted from the DAMIT database or a few individual publications. Methods. We revised the preliminary family membership identification by the HCM according to several additional criteria: taxonomic type, color, albedo, maximum Yarkovsky semi-major axis drift, and the consistency with the size-frequency distribution of each family, and consequently we remove interlopers. We then present the spin-vector distributions for asteroidal families Flora, Koronis, Eos, Eunomia, Phocaea, Themis, Maria, and Alauda. We use a combined orbital-and spin-evolution model to explain the observed spin-vector properties of objects among collisional families. Results. In general, for studied families we observe similar trends in (ap, β) space (proper semi-major axis vs. ecliptic latitude of the spin axis): (i) larger asteroids are situated in the proximity of the center of the family; (ii) asteroids with β > 0 are usually found to the right of the family center; (iii) on the other hand, asteroids with β < 0 to the left of the center; (iv) the majority of asteroids have large pole-ecliptic latitudes (|β| â‰30); and finally (v) some families have a statistically significant excess of asteroids with β > 0 or β < 0. Our numerical simulation of the long-term evolution of a collisional family is capable of reproducing the observed spin-vector properties well. Using this simulation, we also independently constrain the age of families Flora (1.0 ± 0.5 Gyr) and Koronis (2.5-4 Gyr). © 2013 ESO.


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 171 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.

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