Modra Observatory

Bratislava, Slovakia

Modra Observatory

Bratislava, Slovakia
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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.

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 | Year: 2016

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.

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.

Scheirich P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Pravec P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Jacobson S.A.,Laboratoire Lagrange | Jacobson S.A.,University of Bayreuth | And 25 more authors.
Icarus | Year: 2015

Using our photometric observations taken between April 1996 and January 2013 and other published data, we derived properties of the binary near-Earth Asteroid (175706) 1996 FG3 including new measurements constraining evolution of the mutual orbit with potential consequences for the entire binary asteroid population. We also refined previously determined values of parameters of both components, making 1996 FG3 one of the most well understood binary asteroid systems. With our 17-year long dataset, we determined the orbital vector with a substantially greater accuracy than before and we also placed constraints on a stability of the orbit. Specifically, the ecliptic longitude and latitude of the orbital pole are 266° and -83°, respectively, with the mean radius of the uncertainty area of 4°, and the orbital period is 16.1508±0.0002h (all quoted uncertainties correspond to 3σ). We looked for a quadratic drift of the mean anomaly of the satellite and obtained a value of 0.04±0.20deg/yr2, i.e., consistent with zero. The drift is substantially lower than predicted by the pure binary YORP (BYORP) theory of McMahon and Scheeres (McMahon, J., Scheeres, D. [2010]. Icarus 209, 494-509) and it is consistent with the tigidity and quality factor of μQ=1.3×107Pa using the theory that assumes an elastic response of the asteroid material to the tidal forces. This very low value indicates that the primary of 1996 FG3 is a 'rubble pile', and it also calls for a re-thinking of the tidal energy dissipation in close asteroid binary systems. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

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.

Birlan M.,IMCCE | Vaduvescu O.,IMCCE | Vaduvescu O.,Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes | Vaduvescu O.,Católica del Norte University | And 23 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2010

Context: The EUROpean Near Earth Asteroid Research (EURONEAR) is a network which envisions to bring some European contributions into the general context traced by the Spaceguard Foundation which was carried out during the last 15 years mainly by the US with some modest European and amateur contributions. Aims: The number of known near Earth asteroids (NEAs) and potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) has increased tremendously, mainly thanks to five major surveys all focused on the discovery of new bodies. But also other facilities are required to follow-up and improvement the orbital parameters and to study the physical properties of the known bodies. These goals are better achieved by a co-ordinated network such as EURONEAR. Methods: Astrometry is mandatory in order to acquire the positional information necessary to define and improve orbits of NEAs and PHAs and to study their trajectories through the solar system, especially in the vicinity of Earth. Photometry is required to derive some physical information about NEAs and PHAs. In order to achieve these objectives, the main method of research of the EURONEAR is the follow-up programme of objects selected by a few criteria, carried out mostly at 1 m-class telescopes endowed with medium and large field cameras. Results: 162 NEAs summing more than 1500 individual positions were observed for a total time of 55 nights in both visiting mode and regular runs using nine telescopes located in four countries. The observations were reduced promptly and reported to the Minor Planet Centre (MPC) which validated and included them in the MPC and NEODyS databases following the improvement of their orbital elements. For one binary NEA we acquired photometry and were able to determine its orbital and rotational periods. Complementary to the follow-up work, as many as 500 unknown moving objects consistent with new Main Belt asteroids and one possible NEA were discovered in the analyzed fields. Conclusions: Our positions present 1″ precision with an accuracy of 0.2-0.4″, sufficient for achieving our immediate main goals. The observations and data reduction were conducted by our network members, which included some students and amateurs supervised by professional astronomers. In most cases, we increased the observational arcs decreasing the uncertainties in the orbits, while in some cases the new positions allowed us to recover some bodies endangered to be lost, defining their orbits. © 2010 ESO.

Brozovic M.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory | Benner L.A.M.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory | Taylor P.A.,Arecibo Observatory | Nolan M.C.,Arecibo Observatory | And 20 more authors.
Icarus | Year: 2011

We report radar, photometric, and spectroscopic observations of near-Earth Asteroid (136617) 1994 CC. The radar measurements were obtained at Goldstone (8560MHz, 3.5cm) and Arecibo (2380MHz, 12.6cm) on 9days following the asteroid's approach within 0.0168AU on June 10, 2009. 1994 CC was also observed with the Panchromatic Robotic Optical Monitoring and Polarimetry Telescopes (PROMPT) on May 21 and June 1-3. Visible-wavelength spectroscopy was obtained with the 5-m Hale telescope at Palomar on August 25. Delay-Doppler radar images reveal that 1994 CC is a triple system; along with (153591) 2001 SN263, this is only the second confirmed triple in the near-Earth population. Photometry obtained with PROMPT yields a rotation period for the primary P=2.38860±0.00009h and a lightcurve amplitude of ∼0.1mag suggesting a shape with low elongation. Hale telescope spectroscopy indicates that 1994 CC is an Sq-class object. Delay-Doppler radar images and shape modeling reveal that the primary has an effective diameter of 0.62±0.06km, low pole-on elongation, few obvious surface features, and a prominent equatorial ridge and sloped hemispheres that closely resemble those seen on the primary of binary near-Earth Asteroid (66391) 1999 KW4. Detailed orbit fitting reported separately by Fang et al. (Fang, J., Margot, J.-L., Brozovic, M., Nolan, M.C., Benner, L.A.M., Taylor, P.A. [2011]. Astron. J. 141, 154-168) gives a mass of the primary of 2.6×1011kg that, coupled with the effective diameter, yields a bulk density of 2.1±0.6gcm-3. The images constrain the diameters of the inner and outer satellites to be 113±30m and 80±30m, respectively. The inner satellite has a semimajor axis of ∼1.7km (∼5.5 primary radii), an orbital period of ∼30h, and its Doppler dispersion suggests relatively slow rotation, 26±12h, consistent with spin-orbit lock. The outer satellite has an orbital period of ∼9days and a rotation period of 14±7h, establishing that the rotation is not spin-orbit locked. Among all binary and triple systems observed by radar, at least 25% (7/28) have a satellite that rotates more rapidly than its orbital period. This suggests that asynchronous configurations with Protation10 primary radii, suggesting either a detection bias, or that such widely-separated satellites are relatively uncommon in NEA multiple systems. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

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