Status Report

Asteroid families classification: exploiting very large data sets

By SpaceRef Editor
January 2, 2014
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Asteroid families classification: exploiting very large data sets

The number of asteroids with accurately determined orbits increases fast. The catalogs of asteroid physical observations have also increased, although the number of objects is still smaller than in the orbital catalogs. We developed a new approach to the asteroid family classification by combining the Hierarchical Clustering Method (HCM) with a method to add new members to existing families. This procedure makes use of the much larger amount of information contained in the proper elements catalogs, with respect to classifications using also physical observations for a smaller number of asteroids. 

Our work is based on the large catalog of the high accuracy synthetic proper elements (available from AstDyS). We first identify a number of core families; to these we attribute the next layer of smaller objects. Then, we remove all the family members from the catalog, and reapply the HCM to the rest. This gives both halo families which extend the core families and new independent families, consisting mainly of small asteroids. These two cases are discriminated by another step of attribution of new members and by merging intersecting families. By using information from absolute magnitudes, we take advantage of the larger size range in some families to analyze their shape in the proper semimajor axis vs. inverse diameter plane. 

This leads to a new method to estimate the family age (or ages). The results from the previous steps are then analyzed, using also auxiliary information on physical properties including WISE albedos and SDSS color indexes. This allows to solve some difficult cases of families overlapping in the proper elements space but generated by different collisional events. We analyze some examples of cratering families (Massalia, Vesta, Eunomia) which show internal structures, interpreted as multiple collisions. We also discuss why Ceres has no family.

Andrea Milani, Alberto Cellino, Zoran Knezevic, Bojan Novakovic, Federica Spoto, Paolo Paolicchi (Submitted on 30 Dec 2013)

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Cite as: arXiv:1312.7702 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1312.7702v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history From: Federica Spoto   [v1] Mon, 30 Dec 2013 13:05:36 GMT (6277kb)


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