Binary asteroids in the near-earth object population

J. L. Margot, M. C. Nolan, L. A.M. Benner, S. J. Ostro, R. F. Jurgens, J. D. Giorgini, M. A. Slade, D. B. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

280 Scopus citations


Radar images of near-Earth asteroid 2000 DP107 show that it is composed of an ∼800-meter-diameter primary and an ∼-300-meter-diameter secondary revolving around their common center of mass. The orbital period of 1.755 ± 0.007 days and semimajor axis of 2620 ± 160 meters constrain the total mass of the system to 4.6 ± 0.5 X 1011 kilograms and the bulk density of the primary to 1.7 ± 1.1 grams per cubic centimeter. This system and other binary near-Earth asteroids have spheroidal primaries spinning near the breakup point for strengthless bodies, suggesting that the binaries formed by spin-up and fission, probably as a result of tidal disruption during close planetary encounters. About 16% of near-Earth asteroids larger than 200 meters in diameter may be binary systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1445-1448
Number of pages4
Issue number5572
StatePublished - May 24 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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