Journal Article

Chaotic transport and chronology of complex asteroid families

B. Novaković, K. Tsiganis and Z. Knežević

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 402, issue 2, pages 1263-1272
Published in print February 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Chaotic transport and chronology of complex asteroid families

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We present a transport model that describes the orbital diffusion of asteroids in chaotic regions of the three-dimensional space of proper elements. Our goal is to use a simple random-walk model to study the evolution and derive accurate age estimates for dynamically complex asteroid families. To this purpose, we first compute local diffusion coefficients, which characterize chaotic diffusion in proper eccentricity (ep) and inclination (Ip), in a selected phase-space region. Then, a Monte Carlo type code is constructed and used to track the evolution of random walkers (i.e. asteroids), by coupling diffusion in (ep, Ip) with a drift in proper semimajor axis (ap) induced by the Yarkovsky/YORP thermal effects. We validate our model by applying it to the family of (490) Veritas, for which we recover previous estimates of its age (∼8.3 Myr). Moreover, we show that the spreading of chaotic family members in proper element space is well reproduced in our random-walk simulations. Finally, we apply our model to the family of (3556) Lixiaohua, which is much older than Veritas and thus much more affected by thermal forces. We find the age of the Lixiaohua family to be 155 ± 36 Myr.

Keywords: methods: numerical; celestial mechanics; minor planets, asteroids

Journal Article.  8152 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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