Goldstone and Arecibo radar observations of (99942) Apophis in 2012–2013

Marina Brozović, Lance A.M. Benner, Joseph G. McMichael, Jon D. Giorgini, Petr Pravec, Petr Scheirich, Christopher Magri, Michael W. Busch, Joseph S. Jao, Clement G. Lee, Lawrence G. Snedeker, Marc A. Silva, Martin A. Slade, Boris Semenov, Michael C. Nolan, Patrick A. Taylor, Ellen S. Howell, Kenneth J. Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


We report radar observations of Apophis obtained during the 2012−2013 apparition. We observed Apophis on fourteen days at Goldstone (8560 MHz, 3.5 cm) and on five days at Arecibo (2380 MHz, 12.3 cm) between 2012 December 21 to 2013 March 16. Closest approach occurred on January 9 at a distance of 0.097 au. We obtained relatively weak echo power spectra and delay-Doppler images. The highest range resolution was achieved at Goldstone, 0.125 µs or ∼20 m/px. The data suggest that Apophis is an elongated, asymmetric, and possibly bifurcated object. The images place a lower bound on the long axis of 450 m. We used the Pravec et al. (2014) lightcurve-derived shape and spin state model of Apophis to test for short axis mode (SAM) non-principal axis rotation (NPA) and to estimate the asteroid's dimensions. The radar data are consistent with the NPA spin state and they constrain the equivalent diameter to be D = 0.34 ± 0.04 km (1σ bound). This is slightly smaller than the most recent IR observation estimates of 375(−10) (+14)m and 380–393 m, reported by Müller et al. (2014) and Licandro et al. (2016) respectively. We estimated a radar albedo of 0.25 ± 0.11 based on Goldstone data, and an optical albedo, pV, of 0.35 ± 0.10. Licandro et al. (2016) reported pV in the range of 0.24–0.33. The radar astrometry has been updated using a 3-D shape model. The Yarkovsky acceleration has not been detected in the current orbital fit, but if the position error during the 2021 encounter exceeds 8–12 km, this could signal a detection of the Yarkovsky effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-128
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Jan 15 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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