NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2004B-0363

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Proposal Information for 2004B-0363


PI: Peter Tamblyn, Binary Astronomy; Southwest Research Inst., ptamblyn@boulder.swri.edu
Address: Space Studies, 1050 Walnut St. \#400, Boulder, CO 80302, USA

CoI: William J. Merline, Southwest Research Institute
CoI: Clark Chapman, Southwest Research Institute
CoI: David Nesvorny, Southwest Research Institute

Title: Visible Light Curves of Exceptionally Young Asteroids

Abstract: We propose to obtain visible lightcurves for approximately 20 exceptionally young asteroids. These observations leverage a recent discovery by Co-I \NESV in which 96 known asteroids are shown to be products of the extremely recent collisional breakup of a 25 km asteroid. These objects hold profound promise for our understanding of asteroid evolution because of their extraordinary youth, 5.8+/-0.2 My. Their observational characteristics still reflect their initial surface and dynamical properties, which is not true of older asteroids. The observations we propose here have dual purposes. First, to measure the initial lightcurve amplitude and period distributions of fragments from an asteroid collision. As part of our NASA and NSF funded research, these will be compared with hydrocode numerical simulations of family-producing asteroid collisions. Second, these observations will support proposed Spitzer measurements of the thermal flux from 8 of these young asteroids. By combining the thermal observations with these proposed visual measurements of reflected sunlight, sizes and albedos and can be determined. The Spitzer sample was selected to test for size or age correlations with albedo. Finally, these and related observations will measure sizes, densities, albedos, rotation rates, and obliquities in this population. These properties are directly related to Co-I \NESV's novel measurement of the Yarkovsky Effect, an important driver of the long-term dynamical evolution of asteroids.


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