A satellite orbit drift in binary near-Earth asteroids (66391) 1999 KW4 and (88710) 2001 SL9 — Indication of the BYORP effect

P. Scheirich, P. Pravec, P. Kušnirák, K. Hornoch, J. McMahon, D. J. Scheeres, D. Čapek, D. P. Pray, H. Kučáková, A. Galád, J. Vraštil, Yu N. Krugly, N. Moskovitz, L. D. Avner, B. Skiff, R. S. McMillan, J. A. Larsen, M. J. Brucker, A. F. Tubbiolo, W. R. CooneyJ. Gross, D. Terrell, O. Burkhonov, K. E. Ergashev, Sh A. Ehgamberdiev, P. Fatka, R. Durkee, E. Lilly Schunova, R. Ya Inasaridze, V. R. Ayvazian, G. Kapanadze, N. M. Gaftonyuk, J. A. Sanchez, V. Reddy, L. McGraw, M. S. Kelley, I. E. Molotov

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8 Scopus citations

Abstract

We obtained thorough photometric observations of two binary near-Earth asteroids (66391) Moshup = 1999 KW4 and (88710) 2001 SL9 taken from 2000 to 2019. We modeled the data and derived physical and dynamical properties of the binary systems. For (66391) 1999 KW4, we derived its mutual orbit's pole, semimajor axis and eccentricity that are in agreement with radar-derived values (Ostro et al., 2006. Science, 314, 1276–1280). However, we found that the data are inconsistent with a constant orbital period and we obtained unique solution with a quadratic drift of the mean anomaly of the satellite of −0.65 ± 0.16 deg./yr2 (all quoted uncertainties correspond to 3σ). This means that the semimajor axis of the mutual orbit of the components of this binary system, determined a = 2.548 ± 0.015 km by Ostro et al. (2006), increases in time with a mean rate of 1.2 ± 0.3 cm/yr. For (88710) 2001 SL9, we determined that the mutual orbit has a pole within 10° of (L, B) = (302, −73) (ecliptic coordinates), and is close to circular (eccentricity < 0.07). The data for this system are also inconsistent with a constant orbital period and we obtained two solutions for the quadratic drift of the mean anomaly: 2.8 ± 0.2 and 5.2 ± 0.2 deg./yr2, implying that the semimajor axis of the mutual orbit of the components (estimated a ~ 1.6 km) decreases in time with a mean rate of −2.8 ± 0.2 or −5.1 ± 0.2 cm/yr for the two solutions, respectively. The expanding orbit of (66391) 1999 KW4 may be explained by mutual tides interplaying with binary YORP (BYORP) effect (McMahon and Scheeres, 2010a. Icarus 209, 494–509). However, a modeling of the BYORP drift using radar-derived shapes of the binary components predicted a much higher value of the orbital drift than the observed one. It suggests that either the radar-derived shape model of the secondary is inadequate for computing the BYORP effect, or the present theory of BYORP overestimates it. It is possible that the BYORP coefficient has instead an opposite sign than predicted; in that case, the system may be moving into an equilibrium between the BYORP and the tides. In the case of (88710) 2001 SL9, the BYORP effect is the only known physical mechanism that can cause the inward drift of its mutual orbit. Together with the binary (175706) 1996 FG3 which has a mean anomaly drift consistent with zero, implying a stable equilibrium between the BYORP effect and mutual body tides (Scheirich et al., 2015. Icarus 245, 56-63), we now have three distinct cases of well observed binary asteroid systems with their long-term dynamical models inferred. They indicate a presence of all the three states of the mutual orbit evolution – equilibrium, expanding and contracting – in the population of near-Earth binary asteroids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114321
JournalIcarus
Volume360
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Asteroids
  • Dynamics
  • Near-Earth objects
  • Photometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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