AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 15 Comets, Kuiper Belt and Trans-Neptunian Objects
Poster, Monday, January 5, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[15.02] On the Formation and Dissociation of Binary Asteroids and Comets

J. C. Cersosimo, W. Bruckman, S. Vazquez, L. Rosa, A. Buenrostro (Department of Physics & Electronics, UPR, at Humacao)

Close encounters of non-spherical bodies can form binary systems, since their orbital energy could become negative, at the expense of an increasing rotational energy. We illustrate these events by calculating the probabilities, P(v,L), for the capture of an spherical body by an initially at rest proloid, as a function of the initial relative speed (v) of the two bodies, and the parameter of impact (L). This probability function is applied to a system of bodies originally orbiting in a circular belt, and we find that the spherical body would be trapped by the proloid, essentially whenever L are less than a given value L0(r), where r is the original heliocentric position of the proloid. Values of L0 are determined for r in three regions: the asteroid belt, the Kuiper belt, and the Oort cloud.

We can also envision the inverse situation; where an initial binary system dissociates meanwhile the rotational energy is transferring into the orbital energy. Thus, for instance, under time reversal, the capture of a satellite, described in the above paragraph, imply satellite escaping from a couple system. An explicit example of this situation is illustrated in a computer simulation. The above investigation is relevant to the problem of formation of significant number of discovered binary asteroids and comets. On the other hand, it is also extremely important to study the instability of binary near-Earth asteroids and comets, since escaping objects represent collisional threats that are harder to predict.

We thanks to the NASA-Space Grant Consortium at Humaco

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://cuhwww.upr.clu.edu/~jcersosi/PagOrbit1/index.htm. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

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