Asteroid spin-rate studies using large sky-field surveys

Chan Kao Chang, Hsing Wen Lin, Wing Huen Ip, Thomas A. Prince, Shrinivas R. Kulkarni, David Levitan, Russ Laher, Jason Surace

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Eight campaigns to survey asteroid rotation periods have been carried out using the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory in the past 3 years. 2780 reliable rotation periods were obtained, from which we identified two new super-fast rotators (SFRs), (335433) 2005 UW163 and (40511) 1999 RE88, and 23 candidate SFRs. Along with other three known super-fast rotators, there are five known SFRs so far. Contrary to the case of rubble-pile asteroids (i.e., bounded aggregations by gravity only), an internal cohesion, ranging from 100 to 1000 Pa, is required to prevent these five SFRs from flying apart because of their super-fast rotations. This cohesion range is comparable with that of lunar regolith. However, some candidates of several kilometers in size require unusually high cohesion (i.e., a few thousands of Pa). Therefore, the confirmation of these kilometer-sized candidates can provide important information about asteroid interior structure. From the rotation periods we collected, we also found that the spin-rate limit of C-type asteroids, which has a lower bulk density, is lower than for S-type asteroids. This result is in agreement with the general picture of rubble-pile asteroids (i.e., lower bulk density, lower spin-rate limit). Moreover, the spin-rate distributions of asteroids of 3 < D< 15 km in size show a steady decrease along frequency for f> 5 rev/day, regardless of the location in the main belt. The YORP effect is indicated to be less efficient in altering asteroid spin rates from our results when compared with the flat distribution found by Pravec et al. (Icarus 197:497–504, 2008. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2008.05.012). We also found a significant number drop at f = 5 rev/day in the spin-rate distributions of asteroids of D< 3 km.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalGeoscience Letters
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017

Keywords

  • Asteroids: general – surveys
  • Minor planets

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