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N. H. Samarasinha (NOAO/KPNO), T. Karr (Andrews University)
The study of orientation of asteroidal spin vectors are important to understand the collisional evolution of asteroids and the gravitational interactions between asteroids and the rest of the solar system. However, limited availability of a sufficiently large data base on asteroidal spin vectors makes this a difficult task. Past studies on spin vector orientations were mainly aimed at identifying the distribution of the spin vectors with respect to the ecliptic or orbital latitude. It has been argued that precession of orbits would have erased any original anisotropy in ecliptic longitude.
We will present the results from an investigation on the orientation of spin vectors as a function of orbital longitude. We find an excess of spin vectors directed near orbital longitude of 120 degrees. We suggest that the cumulative torques due to solar tides as a possible origin for this effect.
TK thanks NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates program.