Collisional formation and modeling of asteroid families

Patrick Michel, Derek C. Richardson, Daniel D. Durda, Martin Jutzi, Erik Asphaug

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

27 Scopus citations


In the last decade, thanks to the development of sophisticated numerical codes, major breakthroughs have been achieved in our understanding of the formation of asteroid families by catastrophic disruption of large parent bodies. In this review, we describe numerical simulations of asteroid collisions that reproduced the main properties of families, accounting for both the fragmentation of an asteroid at the time of impact and the subsequent gravitational interactions of the generated fragments. The simulations demonstrate that the catastrophic disruption of bodies larger than a few hundred meters in diameter leads to the formation of large aggregates due to gravitational reaccumulation of smaller fragments, which helps explain the presence of large members within asteroid families. Thus, for the first time, numerical simulations successfully reproduced the sizes and ejection velocities of members of representative families. Moreover, the simulations provide constraints on the family dynamical histories and on the possible internal structure of family members and their parent bodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAsteroids IV
PublisherUniversity of Arizona Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780816532186
ISBN (Print)9780816532131
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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