NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2012B-0276

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Proposal Information for 2012B-0276


PI: Seth A Jacobson, University of Colorado at Boulder, seth.jacobson@colorado.edu
Address: Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, UCB 391, Boulder, CO 80309, USA

CoI: Petr Pravec, Astronomical Institute, Czech Republic
CoI: Daniel J. Scheeres, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA

Title: Directly Detecting the BYORP effect and further characterization of near- Earth asteroid binaries

Abstract: The purpose of the proposed observations is to directly detect the binary YORP (BYORP) effect on near-Earth asteroid (NEA) synchronous binary systems and further characterize the orbits and shapes of the binary components for possible future spacecraft deployment. We will observe the light curve fluctuations and mutual events of 88710 (2001 SL_9). Combining this data with similar observations from previous epochs, we intend to precisely measure the drift in mean longitude over time, determine the mutual orbital elements to high precision, and determine the orbit pole position. With these data and a theoretical understanding of the BYORP effect, we will either determine the strength of the BYORP effect on the system or place an upper limit on the strength of the effect to be brought lower with future observations. The BYORP effect evolves the semi-major axis of synchronous or librating satellites, either expanding or shrinking the orbit. The sum of the forces from incident solar radiation and emitted thermal radiation on the secondary will typically average to zero over the course of many mutual orbits and so the mutual orbits of asynchronous binary asteroids do not evolve. When the secondary is synchronous, these radiative forces do not average out, but in this situation the forces add on top of each other projecting either in the direction of motion or against, growing or shrinking the orbit. Confirming the BYORP effect will be significant for our understanding of asteroid evolution.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2012B-0276

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