Searching for Super-fast Rotators Using the Pan-STARRS 1

Chan Kao Chang, Hsing Wen Lin, Wing Huen Ip, Wen Ping Chen, Ting Shuo Yeh, K. C. Chambers, E. A. Magnier, M. E. Huber, H. A. Flewelling, C. Z. Waters, R. J. Wainscoat, A. S.B. Schultz

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12 Scopus citations


A class of asteroids, called large super-fast rotators (large SFRs), have rotation periods shorter than 2 hr and diameters larger than ∼0.3 km. They pose challenges to the usual interior rubble-pile structure unless a relatively high bulk density is assumed. So far, only six large SFRs have been found. Therefore, we present a survey of asteroid rotation periods using the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) 1 telescope during 2016 October 26-31 to search for more large SFRs and to study their properties. A total of 876 reliable rotation periods are measured, among which seven are large SFRs, thereby increasing the inventory of known large SFRs. These seven newly discovered large SFRs have diverse colors and locations in the main asteroid belt, suggesting that the taxonomic tendency and the location preference in the inner main belt of the six previously known large SFRs could be a bias due to various observational limits. Interestingly, five out of the seven newly discovered large SFRs are mid main-belt asteroids (MBAs). Considering the rare discovery rates of large SFR in the previously similar surveys and the survey condition in this work, the chance of detecting a large SFR in the inner main belt seems to be relatively low. This probably suggests that the inner main belt harbors fewer large SFRs than the mid main belt. From our survey, we also found a drop in the number appearing at f > 5 rev day -1 on the spin-rate distribution for the outer MBAs of D < 3 km, which was reported for the inner and mid main belt by Chang et al.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • asteroids: general
  • minor planets
  • surveys


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