Identifying Near Earth Object Families

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2005

image Astrophysics, abstract

From: Hai Fu [view email]
Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 23:11:58 GMT   (459kb)
Identifying Near Earth Object Families
Authors: Hai Fu, Robert Jedicke, Daniel D. Durda, Ronald Fevig, James V. Scotti
Comments: Accepted for publication in Icarus. 19 pages including 11 figures
The study of asteroid families has provided tremendous insight into the forces that sculpted the main belt and continue to drive the collisional and dynamical evolution of asteroids. The identification of asteroid families within the NEO population could provide a similar boon to studies of their formation and interiors. In this study we examine the purported identification of NEO families by Drummond (2000) and conclude that it is unlikely that they are anything more than random fluctuations in the distribution of NEO osculating orbital elements. We arrive at this conclusion after examining the expected formation rate of NEO families, the identification of NEO groups in synthetic populations that contain no genetically related NEOs, the orbital evolution of the largest association identified by Drummond (2000), and the decoherence of synthetic NEO families intended to reproduce the observed members of the same association. These studies allowed us to identify a new criterion that can be used to select real NEO families for further study in future analyses, based on the ratio of the number of pairs and the size of strings to the number of objects in an identified association.
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