Asteroids' physical models from combined dense and sparse photometry and scaling of the YORP effect by the observed obliquity distribution

M. J. Michalowski

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Context. The larger number of models of asteroid shapes and their rotational states derived by the lightcurve inversion give us better insight into both the nature of individual objects and the whole asteroid population. With a larger statistical sample we can study the physical properties of asteroid populations, such as main-belt asteroids or individual asteroid families, in more detail. Shape models can also be used in combination with other types of observational data (IR, adaptive optics images, stellar occultations), e.g., to determine sizes and thermal properties. Aims. We use all available photometric data of asteroids to derive their physical models by the lightcurve inversion method and compare the observed pole latitude distributions of all asteroids with known convex shape models with the simulated pole latitude distributions. Methods. We used classical dense photometric lightcurves from several sources (Uppsala Asteroid Photometric Catalogue, Palomar Transient Factory survey, and from individual observers) and sparse-in-time photometry from the U. S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, Catalina Sky Survey, and La Palma surveys (IAU codes 689, 703, 950) in the lightcurve inversion method to determine asteroid convex models and their rotational states. We also extended a simple dynamical model for the spin evolution of asteroids used in our previous paper. Results. We present 119 new asteroid models derived from combined dense and sparse-in-time photometry. We discuss the reliability of asteroid shape models derived only from Catalina Sky Survey data (IAU code 703) and present 20 such models. By using different values for a scaling parameter cYORP (corresponds to the magnitude of the YORP momentum) in the dynamical model for the spin evolution and by comparing synthetic and observed pole-latitude distributions, we were able to constrain the typical values of the cYORP parameter as between 0.05 and 0.6..
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013


  • minor planets, asteroids: general


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