Monday, April 29, 2013

1304.7083 (T. Henych et al.)

Asteroid rotation excitation by subcatastrophic impacts    [PDF]

T. Henych, P. Pravec
Photometric observations of asteroids show that some of them are in non-principal axis rotation state (free precession), called tumbling. Collisions between asteroids have been proposed as a possible asteroid rotation excitation mechanism. We simulated subcatastrophic collisions between asteroids of various physical and material parameters to find out whether they could be responsible for the excited rotation. For every simulated target body after the collision, we computed its rotational lightcurve and we found that tumbling was photometrically detectable for the rotational axis misalignment angle \beta greater than about 15 deg. We found that subcatastrophic collisions are a plausible cause of non-principal axis rotation for small slowly rotating asteroids. The determining parameter is the ratio of the projectile orbital angular momentum to the target rotational angular momentum and we derived an approximate relation between this ratio and the angle \beta. We also compared the limiting energy for the onset of tumbling with the shattering energy. Slowly rotating asteroids of diameter 100 m and larger can be rotationally excited by collisions with energies below the shattering limit.
View original:

No comments:

Post a Comment