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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.

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. Source

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.

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. Source

Hanus J.,French National Center for Space Studies | Hanus J.,University Of La Cote Dazur | Delbo M.,University Of La Cote Dazur | Vokrouhlicky D.,Charles University | And 17 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics

Context. The near-Earth asteroid (3200) Phaethon is an intriguing object: its perihelion is at only 0.14 au and is associated with the Geminid meteor stream. Aims. We aim to use all available disk-integrated optical data to derive a reliable convex shape model of Phaethon. By interpreting the available space-and ground-based thermal infrared data and Spitzer spectra using a thermophysical model, we also aim to further constrain its size, thermal inertia, and visible geometric albedo. Methods. We applied the convex inversion method to the new optical data obtained by six instruments and to previous observations. The convex shape model was then used as input for the thermophysical modeling. We also studied the long-term stability of Phaethon's orbit and spin axis with a numerical orbital and rotation-state integrator. Results. We present a new convex shape model and rotational state of Phaethon: a sidereal rotation period of 3.603958(2) h and ecliptic coordinates of the preferred pole orientation of (319°,-39°) with a 5° uncertainty. Moreover, we derive its size (D = 5.1 ± 0.2 km), thermal inertia (Γ = 600 ± 200 J m-2 s-1/2 K-1), geometric visible albedo (pV = 0.122 ± 0.008), and estimate the macroscopic surface roughness. We also find that the Sun illumination at the perihelion passage during the past several thousand years is not connected to a specific area on the surface, which implies non-preferential heating. © 2016 ESO. Source

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

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. Source

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 42 more authors.

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. Source

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