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Numerical N-body approach to binary asteroid formation and evolution

Abstract : Binary asteroids play a role of primary importance in determining some physical parameters difficult to measure from Earth, such as the mass. By studying the origin of binaries in the general frame of gravitational aggregates, we can use them as natural laboratories for granular system physics in microgravity conditions, thus obtaining valuable information for modeling asteroids in general. A large variety exists as for the range of parameters of the observed binary systems, and many possible origins have been suggested for them (catastrophic shattering of a parent object and re-accumulation as multiple bodies, planetary tidal perturbations, cratering, YORP ...). In this work we explore by numerical N-body simulations the dynamics of gravitational aggregates outside the limits of stability for a single body, looking for the most favorable configurations leading to binary systems formation. First we show how common the formation of binary systems in a catastrophic scenario is, well reproducing the variety in the observed population. As a second step we explore the possibility of a gradual shape deformation of an aggregate towards a binary system by the action of a slow perturbing force leading to a possible fission of the body. Our results provide new insights into the formation of asteroid binaries, as shown by a comparison to observations and existing literature.
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Contributor : Carlo Comito <>
Submitted on : Monday, June 4, 2012 - 11:07:14 AM
Last modification on : Monday, October 12, 2020 - 11:10:19 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 2:24:24 AM


  • HAL Id : tel-00703696, version 1



Carlo Comito. Numerical N-body approach to binary asteroid formation and evolution. Earth and Planetary Astrophysics [astro-ph.EP]. Università degli studi di Torino; Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, 2012. English. ⟨tel-00703696⟩



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