The YORP effect on 25 143 Itokawa
Astronomical Observatory, Adam Mickiewicz University, Słoneczna 36, 60-286 Poznań, Poland e-mail: [breiter;przebar]@amu.edu.pl; email@example.com
2 Departament d'Astronomia i Meteorologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 647, 08028 Barcelona, Spain e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 Institute of Astronomy, Charles University, V Holešovičkách 2, 18000 Prague 8, Czech Republic e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 21 August 2009
Context. The asteroid 25143 Itokawa is one of the candidates for the detection of the Yarkovsky-O'Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack (YORP) effect in the rotation period. Previous studies were carried out up to the facets triangulation model and were not able to provide a good theoretical estimate of this effect, raising questions about the influence of the mesh resolution and the centre of mass location on the evolution the rotation period.
Aims. The YORP effect on Itokawa is computed for different topography models up to the highest resolution Gaskell mesh of triangular faces in an attempt to find the best possible YORP estimate. Other, lower resolution models are also studied and the question of the dependence of the rotation period drift on the density distribution inhomogeneities is reexamined. A comparison is made with 433 Eros models possessing a similar resolution.
Methods. The Rubincam approximation (zero conductivity) is assumed in the numerical simulation of the YORP effect in rotation period. The mean thermal radiation torques are summed over triangular facets assuming Keplerian heliocentric motion and uniform rotation around a body-fixed axis.
Results. There is no evidence of YORP convergence in Gaskell model family. Differently simplified meshes may converge quickly to their parent models, but this does not prove the quality of YORP computed from the latter. We confirm the high sensitivity of the YORP effect to the fine details of the surface for 25 143 Itokawa and 433 Eros. The sensitivity of the Itokawa YORP to the centre of mass shift is weaker than in earlier works, but instead the results prove to be sensitive to the spin axis orientation in the body frame.
Conclusions. Either the sensitivity of the YORP effect is a physical phenomenon and all present predictions are questionable, or the present thermal models are too simplified.
Key words: celestial mechanics / minor planets, asteroids / methods: numerical
© ESO, 2009