Super catastrophic disruption of asteroids at small perihelion distances

Mikael Granvik, Alessandro Morbidelli, Robert Jedicke, Bryce Bolin, William F. Bottke, Edward C Beshore, David Vokrouhlický, Marco Delbò, Patrick Michel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Most near Earth objects came from the asteroid belt and drifted via non-gravitational thermal forces into resonant escape routes that, in turn, pushed them onto planet-crossing orbits. Models predict that numerous asteroids should be found on orbits that closely approach the Sun, but few have been seen. In addition, even though the near Earth-object population in general is an even mix of low-albedo (less than ten per cent of incident radiation is reflected) and high-albedo (more than ten per cent of incident radiation is reflected) asteroids, the characterized asteroids near the Sun typically have high albedos. Here we report a quantitative comparison of actual asteroid detections and a near Earth-object model (which accounts for observational selection effects). We conclude that the deficit of low-albedo objects near the Sun arises from the super catastrophic breakup (that is, almost complete disintegration) of a substantial fraction of asteroids when they achieve perihelion distances of a few tens of solar radii. The distance at which destruction occurs is greater for smaller asteroids, and their temperatures during perihelion passages are too low for evaporation to explain their disappearance. Although both bright and dark (high-and low-albedo) asteroids eventually break up, we find that low-albedo asteroids are more likely to be destroyed farther from the Sun, which explains the apparent excess of high-albedo near Earth objects and suggests that low-albedo asteroids break up more easily as a result of thermal effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-306
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume530
Issue number7590
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 17 2016

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asteroids
albedo
near Earth objects
sun
incident radiation
asteroid detection
orbits
asteroid belts
disintegration
destruction
escape
temperature effects
planets
routes
evaporation
radii

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Granvik, M., Morbidelli, A., Jedicke, R., Bolin, B., Bottke, W. F., Beshore, E. C., ... Michel, P. (2016). Super catastrophic disruption of asteroids at small perihelion distances. Nature, 530(7590), 303-306. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature16934

Super catastrophic disruption of asteroids at small perihelion distances. / Granvik, Mikael; Morbidelli, Alessandro; Jedicke, Robert; Bolin, Bryce; Bottke, William F.; Beshore, Edward C; Vokrouhlický, David; Delbò, Marco; Michel, Patrick.

In: Nature, Vol. 530, No. 7590, 17.02.2016, p. 303-306.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Granvik, M, Morbidelli, A, Jedicke, R, Bolin, B, Bottke, WF, Beshore, EC, Vokrouhlický, D, Delbò, M & Michel, P 2016, 'Super catastrophic disruption of asteroids at small perihelion distances', Nature, vol. 530, no. 7590, pp. 303-306. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature16934
Granvik M, Morbidelli A, Jedicke R, Bolin B, Bottke WF, Beshore EC et al. Super catastrophic disruption of asteroids at small perihelion distances. Nature. 2016 Feb 17;530(7590):303-306. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature16934
Granvik, Mikael ; Morbidelli, Alessandro ; Jedicke, Robert ; Bolin, Bryce ; Bottke, William F. ; Beshore, Edward C ; Vokrouhlický, David ; Delbò, Marco ; Michel, Patrick. / Super catastrophic disruption of asteroids at small perihelion distances. In: Nature. 2016 ; Vol. 530, No. 7590. pp. 303-306.
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