AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 56 Planets and Solar System Objects
Poster, Tuesday, January 11, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[56.09] Space- and Ground-Based Observations of Exceptionally Young Asteroids

P.M. Tamblyn (Binary Astronomy & Southwest Research Institute), W.J. Merline, C.R. Chapman, D. Nesvorný, D.D. Durda (Southwest Research Institute)

We provide an overview and progress report on a suite of observations of very young asteroids. Three asteroid groups were previously identified through dynamical back integration as having arisen from very recent (<10 Myr) asteroid collisions (Nesvorný et al. 2002, Nature 417, 720; 2003 ApJ 591, 486). Hence these asteroid families provide an opportunity to probe the properties of the fragments of asteroid collisions before their characteristics have been masked by the aging and dynamical effects that dominate the observable properties of older asteroids. With a variety of observational programs, we aim to measure characteristics critical for comparison with hydrodynamical models of asteroid collisions. First, with a large Hubble Snapshot survey, we are testing if binaries are more prevalent among the young asteroids. This might be expected because ejection of mutually bound pairs is one mechanism for binary formation. Although our observed samples are small, we have discovered two new binaries among our control sample of old asteroids and none among the young asteroids sampled. We are extending the sample with ground-based Adaptive Optics at VLT, Gemini-N, Keck, and IRTF. In another ground-based experiment, we are measuring the lightcurve amplitudes and spin periods of these young asteroids for eventual comparison with simulations of asteroid breakup (e.g. Durda et al. 2004 Icarus 170, 243). Finally, with a Spitzer program, we are measuring the sizes and albedos of some of these young asteroids. This will immediately test if albedo is correlated with size or age, and provide the calibration for a ground-based determination of the size distribution. Together with the spin and shape information from lightcurves, these data will also further constrain the measurement of the Yarkovsky effect on main belt asteroids recently presented by Nesvorný & Bottke 2004 (Icarus, 170, 324).

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ptamblyn@astro101.com

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