510 research outputs found

    Asteroid proper elements and secular resonances

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    In a series of papers (e.g., Knezevic, 1991; Milani and Knezevic, 1990; 1991) we reported on the progress we were making in computing asteroid proper elements, both as regards their accuracy and long-term stability. Additionally, we reported on the efficiency and 'intelligence' of our software. At the same time, we studied the associated problems of resonance effects, and we introduced the new class of 'nonlinear' secular resonances; we determined the locations of these secular resonances in proper-element phase space and analyzed their impact on the asteroid family classification. Here we would like to summarize the current status of our work and possible further developments

    Asteroid family ages

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    A new family classification, based on a catalog of proper elements with ∼384,000\sim 384,000 numbered asteroids and on new methods is available. For the 4545 dynamical families with >250>250 members identified in this classification, we present an attempt to obtain statistically significant ages: we succeeded in computing ages for 3737 collisional families. We used a rigorous method, including a least squares fit of the two sides of a V-shape plot in the proper semimajor axis, inverse diameter plane to determine the corresponding slopes, an advanced error model for the uncertainties of asteroid diameters, an iterative outlier rejection scheme and quality control. The best available Yarkovsky measurement was used to estimate a calibration of the Yarkovsky effect for each family. The results are presented separately for the families originated in fragmentation or cratering events, for the young, compact families and for the truncated, one-sided families. For all the computed ages the corresponding uncertainties are provided. We found 2 cases where two separate dynamical families form together a single V-shape with compatible slopes, thus indicating a single collisional event. We have also found 3 examples of dynamical families containing multiple collisional families, plus a dubious case. We have found 2 cases of families containing a conspicuous subfamily, such that it is possible to measure the slope of a distinct V-shape, thus the age of the secondary collision. We also provide data on the central gaps appearing in some families. The ages computed in this paper are obtained with a single and uniform methodology, thus the ages of different families can be compared, providing a first example of collisional chronology of the asteroid main belt

    On the Juno Radio Science Experiment: models, algorithms and sensitivity analysis

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    Juno is a NASA mission launched in 2011 with the goal of studying Jupiter. The probe will arrive to the planet in 2016 and will be placed for one year in a polar high-eccentric orbit to study the composition of the planet, the gravity and the magnetic field. The Italian Space Agency (ASI) provided the radio science instrument KaT (Ka-Band Translator) used for the gravity experiment, which has the goal of studying the Jupiter's deep structure by mapping the planet's gravity: such instrument takes advantage of synergies with a similar tool in development for BepiColombo, the ESA cornerstone mission to Mercury. The Celestial Mechanics Group of the University of Pisa, being part of the Juno Italian team, is developing an orbit determination and parameters estimation software for processing the real data independently from NASA software ODP. This paper has a twofold goal: first, to tell about the development of this software highlighting the models used, second, to perform a sensitivity analysis on the parameters of interest to the mission.Comment: Accepted for publication in MONTHLY NOTICES of the Royal Astronomical Society 2014 October 31. Received 2014 July 28; in original form 2013 October

    Efficient intra- and inter-night linking of asteroid detections using kd-trees

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    The Panoramic Survey Telescope And Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) under development at the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy is creating the first fully automated end-to-end Moving Object Processing System (MOPS) in the world. It will be capable of identifying detections of moving objects in our solar system and linking those detections within and between nights, attributing those detections to known objects, calculating initial and differentially-corrected orbits for linked detections, precovering detections when they exist, and orbit identification. Here we describe new kd-tree and variable-tree algorithms that allow fast, efficient, scalable linking of intra and inter-night detections. Using a pseudo-realistic simulation of the Pan-STARRS survey strategy incorporating weather, astrometric accuracy and false detections we have achieved nearly 100% efficiency and accuracy for intra-night linking and nearly 100% efficiency for inter-night linking within a lunation. At realistic sky-plane densities for both real and false detections the intra-night linking of detections into `tracks' currently has an accuracy of 0.3%. Successful tests of the MOPS on real source detections from the Spacewatch asteroid survey indicate that the MOPS is capable of identifying asteroids in real data.Comment: Accepted to Icaru

    Keplerian integrals, elimination theory and identification of very short arcs in a large database of optical observations

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    Modern asteroid surveys produce an increasingly large number of observations, which are grouped into very short arcs (VSAs) each containing a few observations of the same object in one single night. To decide whether two VSAs collected in different nights correspond to the same observed object we can attempt to compute an orbit with the observations of both arcs: this is called the linkage problem. Since the number of linkages to be attempted is very large, we need efficient methods of orbit determination. Using the first integrals of Kepler’s motion we can write algebraic equations for the linkage problem, which can be put in polynomial form. In Gronchi et al. (Celest Mech Dyn Astron 123(2):105–122, 2015) these equations are reduced to a polynomial equation of degree 9: the unknown is the topocentric distance of the observed body at the mean epoch of one VSA. Here we derive the same equations in a more concise way, and show that the degree 9 is optimal in a sense that will be specified in Sect. 3.3. We also introduce a procedure to join three VSAs: from the conservation of angular momentum we obtain a polynomial equation of degree 8 in the topocentric distance at the mean epoch of the second VSA. For both identification methods, with two and three VSAs, we discuss how to discard solutions. Finally, we present some numerical tests showing that the new methods give satisfactory results and can be used also when the time separation between the VSAs is large. The low polynomial degree of the new methods makes them well suited to deal with the very large number of asteroid observations collected by the modern surveys
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