The orbit and size distribution of small Solar System objects orbiting the Sun interior to the Earth's orbit

Maximilian Zavodny, Robert Jedicke, Edward C. Beshore, Fabrizio Bernardi, Stephen Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present the first observational measurement of the orbit and size distribution of small Solar System objects whose orbits are wholly interior to the Earth's (Inner Earth Objects, IEOs, with aphelion <0.983 AU). We show that we are able to model the detections of near-Earth objects (NEO) by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) using a detailed parameterization of the CSS survey cadence and detection efficiencies as implemented within the Jedicke et al. [Jedicke, R., Morbidelli, A., Spahr, T., Petit, J.M., Bottke, W.F., 2003. Icarus 161, 17-33] survey simulator and utilizing the Bottke et al. [Bottke, W.F., Morbidelli, A., Jedicke, R., Petit, J.-M., Levison, H.F., Michel, P., Metcalfe, T.S., 2002. Icarus 156, 399-433] model of the NEO population's size and orbit distribution. We then show that the CSS detections of 4 IEOs are consistent with the Bottke et al. [Bottke, W.F., Morbidelli, A., Jedicke, R., Petit, J.-M., Levison, H.F., Michel, P., Metcalfe, T.S., 2002. Icarus 156, 399-433] IEO model. Observational selection effects for the IEOs discovered by the CSS were then determined using the survey simulator in order to calculate the corrected number and H distribution of the IEOs. The actual number of IEOs with H < 18 (21) is 36 ± 26 (530 ± 240) and the slope of the H magnitude distribution (∝ 10α H) for the IEOs is αIEO = 0.44-0.22+0.23. The slope is consistent with previous measurements for the NEO population of αNEO = 0.35 ± 0.02 [Bottke, W.F., Morbidelli, A., Jedicke, R., Petit, J.-M., Levison, H.F., Michel, P., Metcalfe, T.S., 2002. Icarus 156, 399-433] and αNEO = 0.39 ± 0.013 [Stuart, J.S., Binzel, R.P., 2004. Icarus 170, 295-311]. Based on the agreement between the predicted and observed IEO orbit and absolute magnitude distributions there is no indication of any non-gravitational effects (e.g. Yarkovsky, tidal disruption) affecting the known IEO population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-293
Number of pages10
JournalIcarus
Volume198
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

Keywords

  • Asteroids
  • Near-Earth objects
  • dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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