Journal Article

Inelastic dissipation in wobbling asteroids and comets

Michael Efroimsky and A. Lazarian

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 311, issue 2, pages 269-278
Published in print January 2000 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2000 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Inelastic dissipation in wobbling asteroids and comets

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Asteroids and comets dissipate energy when they rotate about any axis different from the axis of the maximal moment of inertia. We show that the most efficient internal relaxation happens at twice the frequency of the precession of the body. Therefore earlier estimates that ignore the double frequency input underestimate the internal relaxation in asteroids and comets. We suggest that seismological data of the Earth may poorly represent the acoustic properties of asteroids and comets as internal relaxation increases in the presence of moisture. At the same time, owing to the non-linearity of inelastic relaxation, small angle nutations can persist for very long time spans, but our ability to detect such precessions is limited by the resolution of the radar-generated images. Wobbling may provide valuable information on the composition and structure of asteroids and on their recent history of external impacts.

Keywords: instrumentation: photometers; methods: analytical; techniques: photometric; techniques: radar astronomy; comets: general; minor planets, asteroids

Journal Article.  6847 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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