Brightness variation distributions among main belt asteroids from sparse light curve sampling with Pan-STARRS 1

A. McNeill, A. Fitzsimmons, R. Jedicke, R. Wainscoat, L. Denneau, P. Veres, E. Magnier, K.C. Chambers, N. Kaiser, C. Waters

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Abstract

The rotational state of asteroids is controlled by various physical mechanisms including collisions, internal damping and the Yarkovsky-O'Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack (YORP) effect. We have analysed the changes in magnitude between consecutive detections of ∼ 60,000 asteroids measured by the PanSTARRS 1 survey during its first 18 months of operations. We have attempted to explain the derived brightness changes physically and through the application of a simple model. We have found a tendency toward smaller magnitude variations with decreasing diameter for objects of 1 < D < 8 km. Assuming the shape distribution of objects in this size range to be independent of size and composition our model suggests a population with average axial ratios 1: 0.85 ± 0.13: 0.71 ± 0.13, with larger objects more likely to have spin axes perpendicular to the orbital plane.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2964-2972
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume459
Issue number3
Early online date13 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2016

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    McNeill, A., Fitzsimmons, A., Jedicke, R., Wainscoat, R., Denneau, L., Veres, P., Magnier, E., Chambers, K. C., Kaiser, N., & Waters, C. (2016). Brightness variation distributions among main belt asteroids from sparse light curve sampling with Pan-STARRS 1. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 459(3), 2964-2972. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stw847