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Four extremely young asteroid families identified

26 Sep 2018, 23:00 UTC
Four extremely young asteroid families identified
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Four families of extremely young asteroids have been identified by researchers affiliated with São Paulo State University (UNESP) in Guaratinguetá, Brazil. An article on the discovery has been published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The group is led by Italian-born physicist Valerio Carruba, currently a professor in UNESP’s Mathematics Department. “We identified the new families by means of numerical simulation using the backward integration method (BIM), which is much more precise than other methods for dating asteroid families,” Carruba told Agência FAPESP. “But BIM only works for really young families that are less than 20 million years old. Until recently, only eight families had been studied by this method. We now know 13, almost a third of which were identified by our group.” The four families in question, all of which are less than 7 million years old, orbit between Mars and Jupiter as part of a grouping known as the Main Asteroid Belt. The key dating parameters used were the longitudes of the pericenter and ascending node. For a planet, comet or asteroid moving around the Sun in an elliptical orbit, the pericenter is the point at which it comes closest to the Sun. The ascending ...

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