Effect of rotational disruption on the size-frequency distribution of the main belt asteroid population

Seth A. Jacobson*, Francesco Marzari, Alessandro Rossi, Daniel J. Scheeres, Donald R. Davis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

The size distribution of small asteroids in the Main Belt is assumed to be determined by an equilibrium between the creation of new bodies out of the impact debris of larger asteroids and the destruction of small asteroids by collisions with smaller projectiles. However, for a diameter less than 6 km, we find that YORP-induced rotational disruption significantly contributes to the erosion even exceeding the effects of collisional fragmentation. Including this additional grinding mechanism in a collision evolution model for the asteroid belt, we generate size-frequency distributions from either an accretional or an 'Asteroids were born big' initial size-frequency distribution that are consistent with observations reported in Gladman et al. Rotational disruption is a new mechanism that must be included in all future collisional evolution models of asteroids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L95-L99
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Volume439
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014

Keywords

  • Asteroids: general
  • Minor planets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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