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A. Campo Bagatin (Physikalisches Inst., Univ. Bern (CH)), V.J. Martinez (Obs. Astron., Univ. Valencia (E)), S. Paredes (Dep. Mat. APl. y Estad., Univ. Politec. Cartagena (Murcia) (E))
Dohnanyi's theory predicts that a collisional system such as the asteroid population of the main belt should rapidly relax to a power--law stationary size distribution of the kind N(m)\propto m-\alpha, with \alpha very close to 11/6, provided all the collisional response parameters are independent on size. The actual asteroid belt distribution at observable sizes, instead, does not exhibit such a simple fractal size distribution.
We investigate the possibility that the actual stationary cumulative distribution of the main asteroid belt at observable sizes --- that substantially deviates from a power--law distribution --- may be instead fairly fitted by multinomial distributions. This multinomial behaviour, which is in contrast with the Dohnany stationary distribution, is related to the release of the hypothesis of self--similarity, mainly due to the increasing effect of self--gravity in collisional processes involving km--size objects in the real asteroid belt population.
The present research has been carried on by A.Campo Bagatin thanks to an European Space Agency postdoctoral fellowship.
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