Physical and dynamical properties of the unusual V-type asteroid (2579) Spartacus
Astronomical Observatory Institute, Faculty of Physics, A. Mickiewicz University,
2 Institute of Physics, Astrophysics Division, Jan Kochanowski University, Swietokrzyska 15, 25-406 Kielce, Poland
3 Lowell Observatory, 14000 W Mars Hill Road, 86001 Flagstaff, AZ, USA
4 Astronomical Institute, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University, V Holešovičkách 2, 18000 Prague 8, Czech Republic
5 Chorzów Astronomical Observatory MPC553, Chorzów, Polish Amateur Astronomical Society, Powstancow Wlkp. 34, 63-708 Rozdrazew, Poland
6 Gran Telescopio Canarias (GRANTECAN), Cuesta de San José s/n, 38712 Breña Baja, La Palma, Spain
7 Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Vía Láctea s/n, 38200 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
8 Department of Physics, Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2a, PO Box 64, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
9 Astronomical Observatory of Odessa I.I. Mechnikov National University, Marazlievskaya 1v, 65014 Odessa, Ukraine
10 Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
Accepted: 6 February 2019
Context. Asteroid (2579) Spartacus is a small V-type object located in the inner main belt. This object shows spectral characteristics unusual for typical Vestoids, which may indicate an origin deeper than average within Vesta or an origin from an altogether different parent body.
Aims. Our main goal is to study the origin of Spartacus. We derive the spin of Spartacus and a convex shape model of Spartacus in order to increase the knowledge of the body’s physical properties. The rotational parameters are then used to investigate dynamical evolution of the object as well as to distinguish regions sampled by spectral observations to determine whether its surface displays heterogeneity.
Methods. We collected lightcurves available from the literature (oppositions of 2009, 2012) and obtained additional photometric observations at various telescopes in 2016, 2017, and 2018. We used the lightcurve inversion method to derive a spin and convex shape model. We have collected spectral observations over two rotational periods of Spartacus and determined its spectral parameters using the modified Gaussian model (MGM). We then dynamically integrated the orbital elements of Spartacus, taking into account existing information, including its thermal properties, size and the derived spin axis orientation.
Results. We find two models for (2579) Spartacus: (a) λ = 312° ± 5°, β = −57° ± 5° and (b) λ = 113° ± 5°, β = −60° ± 5° both retrograde. We find that the drift direction for Spartacus is consistent with separation from Vesta, and after a backward integration of 1 Gyr the asteroid reaches the boundary of the family. We did not observe spectral variations with rotation, thus the body most likely has a homogeneous surface. Additionally, new spectral analysis indicates that the 1.0 and 2.0 μm band centers are within ranges that are typical for Vestoids while the area ratio of these bands is about half that of typical Vestoids.
Conclusions. The asteroid (2579) Spartacus is in retrograde rotation and has a drift direction consistent with an origin from Vesta. The revised spectral band centers are within ranges typical for Vestoids, while band area ratio (BAR) is unusually low compared to that of other V-types. The dynamical model shows that the asteroid could have migrated to its current location from the edges of the Vesta family within 1 Gyr, but an origin from an earlier impact on Vesta could also be plausible.
Key words: minor planets, asteroids: individual: Spartacus / techniques: photometric / techniques: spectroscopic
© ESO 2019