Hunters Hill Observatory

Canberra, Australia

Hunters Hill Observatory

Canberra, Australia

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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.


Chiorny V.,University of Kharkiv | Galad A.,Modra Observatory | Galad A.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Pravec P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | And 16 more authors.
Planetary and Space Science | Year: 2011

We present the results of absolute photometry the absolute brightness HV, the effective diameter, (B)VR color indices, composite light curves, period of rotation and amplitude of variations of several small asteroids in the inner main-belt: 1344 Caubeta, 1401 Lavonne, 2947 Kippenhahn, 3913 Chemin, 3956 Caspar, 4375 Kiyomori, 4555 1987 QL, 5484 Inoda, 5985 1942 RJ, 6949 Zissell and main-belt asteroid 6867 Kuwano. The photometric observations of these objects were made in the period 20072009 as part of a project of photometric studies of small main-belt asteroids that involves a collaboration of a number of asteroid photometrists around the world. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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.


Hanus J.,Charles University | Durech J.,Charles University | Broz M.,Charles University | Marciniak A.,Adam Mickiewicz University | And 101 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2013

Context. The larger number of models of asteroid shapes and their rotational states derived by the lightcurve inversion give us better insight into both the nature of individual objects and the whole asteroid population. With a larger statistical sample we can study the physical properties of asteroid populations, such as main-belt asteroids or individual asteroid families, in more detail. Shape models can also be used in combination with other types of observational data (IR, adaptive optics images, stellar occultations), e.g., to determine sizes and thermal properties. Aims. We use all available photometric data of asteroids to derive their physical models by the lightcurve inversion method and compare the observed pole latitude distributions of all asteroids with known convex shape models with the simulated pole latitude distributions. Methods. We used classical dense photometric lightcurves from several sources (Uppsala Asteroid Photometric Catalogue, Palomar Transient Factory survey, and from individual observers) and sparse-in-time photometry from the U.S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, Catalina Sky Survey, and La Palma surveys (IAU codes 689, 703, 950) in the lightcurve inversion method to determine asteroid convex models and their rotational states. We also extended a simple dynamical model for the spin evolution of asteroids used in our previous paper. Results. We present 119 new asteroid models derived from combined dense and sparse-in-time photometry. We discuss the reliability of asteroid shape models derived only from Catalina Sky Survey data (IAU code 703) and present 20 such models. By using different values for a scaling parameter cYORP (corresponds to the magnitude of the YORP momentum) in the dynamical model for the spin evolution and by comparing synthetic and observed pole-latitude distributions, we were able to constrain the typical values of the c YORP parameter as between 0.05 and 0.6. © 2013 ESO.


Yee J.C.,Ohio State University | Shvartzvald Y.,Tel Aviv University | Gal-Yam A.,Weizmann Institute of Science | Bond I.A.,Massey University | And 76 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2012

Because of the development of large-format, wide-field cameras, microlensing surveys are now able to monitor millions of stars with sufficient cadence to detect planets. These new discoveries will span the full range of significance levels including planetary signals too small to be distinguished from the noise. At present, we do not understand where the threshold is for detecting planets. MOA-2011-BLG-293Lb is the first planet to be published from the new surveys, and it also has substantial follow-up observations. This planet is robustly detected in survey+follow-up data (Δχ2 5400). The planet/host mass ratio is q = (5.3 ± 0.2) × 10-3. The best-fit projected separation is s = 0.548 ± 0.005 Einstein radii. However, due to the s↔s -1 degeneracy, projected separations of s -1 are only marginally disfavored at Δχ2 = 3. A Bayesian estimate of the host mass gives ML = 0.43+0.27 - 0.17 M, with a sharp upper limit of ML < 1.2 M from upper limits on the lens flux. Hence, the planet mass is mp = 2.4+1.5 - 0.9 M Jup, and the physical projected separation is either r ≃ 1.0AU or r ≃ 3.4AU. We show that survey data alone predict this solution and are able to characterize the planet, but the Δχ2 is much smaller (Δχ2 500) than with the follow-up data. The Δχ2 for the survey data alone is smaller than for any other securely detected planet. This event suggests a means to probe the detection threshold, by analyzing a large sample of events like MOA-2011-BLG-293, which have both follow-up data and high-cadence survey data, to provide a guide for the interpretation of pure survey microlensing data. © © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..


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.


Magri C.,University of Maine at Farmington | Howell E.S.,Arecibo Observatory | Nolan M.C.,Arecibo Observatory | Taylor P.A.,Arecibo Observatory | And 23 more authors.
Icarus | Year: 2011

We observed near-Earth Asteroid (8567) 1996 HW1 at the Arecibo Observatory on six dates in September 2008, obtaining radar images and spectra. By combining these data with an extensive set of new lightcurves taken during 2008-2009 and with previously published lightcurves from 2005, we were able to reconstruct the object's shape and spin state. 1996 HW1 is an elongated, bifurcated object with maximum diameters of 3.8 × 1.6 × 1.5. km and a contact-binary shape. It is the most bifurcated near-Earth asteroid yet studied and one of the most elongated as well. The sidereal rotation period is 8.76243 ± 0.00004. h and the pole direction is within 5° of ecliptic longitude and latitude (281°, -31°). Radar astrometry has reduced the orbital element uncertainties by 27% relative to the a priori orbit solution that was based on a half-century of optical data. Simple dynamical arguments are used to demonstrate that this asteroid could have originated as a binary system that tidally decayed and merged. © 2011 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.


Gould A.,Ohio State University | Dong S.,Institute for Advanced Study | Gaudi B.S.,Ohio State University | Udalski A.,Optical Gravitational Lens Experiment OGLE | And 169 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2010

We present the first measurement of the planet frequency beyond the "snow line," for the planet-to-star mass-ratio interval-4.5 < logq <-2, corresponding to the range of ice giants to gas giants. We find d 2Np1/dlog q d log s= (0.36 ± 0.15) dex dlog q d logs at the mean mass ratio q = 5 × 10-4 with no discernible deviation from a flat (öpik's law) distribution in logprojected separation s. The determination is based on a sample of six planets detected from intensive follow-up observations of high-magnification (A > 200) microlensing events during 2005-2008. The sampled host stars have a typical mass Mhost ∼ 0.5 M⊙, and detection is sensitive to planets over a range of planet-star-projected separations (s max -1Re, s maxRE), where Re ∼ 3.5 AU(Mhost/M⊙) 1/2 is the Einstein radius and smax ∼ (q/10 -43)1/3. This corresponds to deprojected separations roughly three times the "snow line." We show that the observations of these events have the properties of a "controlled experiment," which is what permits measurement of absolute planet frequency. High-magnification events are rare, but the survey-plus-follow-up high-magnification channel is very efficient: half of all high-mag events were successfully monitored and half of these yielded planet detections. The extremely high sensitivity of high-mag events leads to a policy of monitoring them as intensively as possible, independent of whether they show evidence of planets. This is what allows us to construct an unbiased sample. The planet frequency derived from microlensing is a factor 8 larger than the one derived from Doppler studies at factor ∼25 smaller star-planet separations (i.e., periods 2-2000 days). However, this difference is basically consistent with the gradient derived from Doppler studies (when extrapolated well beyond the separations from which it is measured). This suggests a universal separation distribution across 2 dex in planet-star separation, 2 dex in mass ratio, and 0.3 dex in host mass. Finally, if all planetary systems were "analogs" of the solar system, our sample would have yielded 18.2 planets (11.4 "Jupiters," 6.4 "Saturns," 0.3 "Uranuses," 0.2 "Neptunes") including 6.1 systems with two or more planet detections. This compares to six planets including one twoplanet system in the actual sample, implying a first estimate of 1/6 for the frequency of solar-like systems.


Harris A.W.,MoreData Inc | Pravec P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Galad A.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Galad A.,Comenius University | And 13 more authors.
Icarus | Year: 2014

Most asteroid lightcurves are dominated by the second harmonic of the rotation period, caused by elongated shape. However, if the shape is not very elongate, other harmonics may dominate, leading to ambiguity of which is the true rotation period. We argue from geometry that at low phase angle, harmonics other than the second with amplitude exceeding ~0.4 magnitude are nearly impossible, so lightcurves with larger amplitude than that suggest a unique period dominated by the second harmonic, unless the spin is complex, non-principal axis rotation. On the other hand, lightcurves with amplitude less than 0.2-0.3 magnitudes can be dominated by other harmonics, especially the 4th and 6th, so the period may be ambiguous unless odd harmonics can be found to identify the true rotation period. We present examples of each, low and high amplitude ambiguities. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

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