Physical modeling of triple near-Earth Asteroid (153591) 2001 SN 263 from radar and optical light curve observations

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Abstract

We report radar observations (2380-MHz, 13-cm) by the Arecibo Observatory and optical light curves observed from eight different observatories and collected at the Ondřejov Observatory of the triple near-Earth asteroid system (153591) 2001 SN 263 . The radar observations were obtained over the course of ten nights spanning February 12-26, 2008 and the light curve observations were made throughout January 12 - March 31, 2008. Both data sets include observations during the object's close approach of 0.06558AU on February 20th, 2008. The delay-Doppler images revealed the asteroid to be comprised of three components, making it the first known triple near-Earth asteroid. Only one other object, (136617) 1994 CC is a confirmed triple near-Earth asteroid.We present physical models of the three components of the asteroid system. We constrain the primary's pole direction to an ecliptic longitude and latitude of (309°, -80°)±15°. We find that the primary rotates with a period 3.4256±0.0002h and that the larger satellite has a rotation period of 13.43±0.01h, considerably shorter than its orbital period of approximately 6days. We find that the rotation period of the smaller satellite is consistent with a tidally locked state and therefore rotates with a period of 0.686±0.002 days (Fang et al. [2011]. Astron. J. 141, 154-168). The primary, the larger satellite, and the smaller satellite have equivalent diameters of 2.5±0.3km, 0.77±0.12km, 0.43±0.14km and densities of 1.1±0.2g/cm 3 , 1.0±0.4g/cm 3 , 2.3±1.3g/cm 3 , respectively.

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Becker, T. M., Howell, E. S., Nolan, M. C., Magri, C., Pravec, P., Taylor, P. A., … Pollock, J. T. (2015). Physical modeling of triple near-Earth Asteroid (153591) 2001 SN 263 from radar and optical light curve observations. Icarus, 248, 499–515. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2014.10.048

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