[EPA] Asteroid spin-axis longitudes from the Lowell Observatory database


By analyzing brightness variation with ecliptic longitude and using the Lowell Observatory photometric database, we estimate spin-axis longitudes for more than 350 000 asteroids. Hitherto, spin-axis longitude estimates have been made for fewer than 200 asteroids. We investigate longitude distributions in different dynamical groups and asteroid families. We show that asteroid spin-axis longitudes are not isotropically distributed as previously considered. We find that the spin-axis longitude distribution for main-belt asteroids is clearly non-random, with an excess of longitudes from the interval 30{\deg}-110{\deg} and a paucity between 120{\deg}-180{\deg}. The explanation of the non-isotropic distribution is unknown at this point. Further studies have to be conducted to determine if the shape of the distribution can be explained by observational bias, selection effects, a real physical process or other mechanism.

Read this paper on arXiv…

Date added: Tue, 15 Oct 13