Detection of Yarkovsky acceleration in the context of precovery observations and the future Gaia catalogue
1 Observatório NacionalRua José Cristino 77, São Cristovão, CEP 20. 921-400 Rio de Janeiro Brazil
2 Institut de Mécanique Céleste et de Calcul des Éphémérides – Observatoire de Paris, UMR 8028 CNRS, 77 avenue Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris, France
Received: 20 February 2014
Accepted: 13 December 2014
Context. The Yarkovsky effect is a weak non-gravitational force leading to a small variation of the semi-major axis of an asteroid. Using radar measurements and astrometric observations, it is possible to measure a drift in semi-major axis through orbit determination.
Aims. This paper aims to detect a reliable drift in semi-major axis of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) from ground-based observations and to investigate the impact of precovery observations and the future Gaia catalogue in the detection of a secular drift in semi-major axis.
Methods. We have developed a precise dynamical model of an asteroid’s motion taking the Yarkovsky acceleration into account and allowing the fitting of the drift in semi-major axis. Using statistical methods, we investigate the quality and the robustness of the detection.
Results. By filtering spurious detections with an estimated maximum drift depending on the asteroid’s size, we found 46 NEAs with a reliable drift in semi-major axis in good agreement with the previous studies. The measure of the drift leads to a better orbit determination and constrains some physical parameters of these objects. Our results are in good agreement with the 1 /D dependence of the drift and with the expected ratio of prograde and retrograde NEAs. We show that the uncertainty of the drift mainly depends on the length of orbital arc and in this way we highlight the importance of the precovery observations and data mining in the detection of consistent drift. Finally, we discuss the impact of Gaia catalogue in the determination of drift in semi-major axis.
Key words: astrometry / celestial mechanics / minor planets, asteroids: general
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