Volume 654, October 2021
|Number of page(s)||17|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||13 October 2021|
The young Hobson family: Possible binary parent body and low-velocity dispersal★
Institute of Astronomy, Charles University,
V Holešovičkách 2,
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
2 Department of Astronomy, Faculty of Mathematics, University of Belgrade, Studentski trg 16, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
3 Southwest Research Institute, 1050 Walnut St, Suite 300, Boulder, CO 80302, USA
Accepted: 3 August 2021
Context. Asteroid families with ages younger than 1 Myr offer an interesting possibility of studying the outcomes of asteroid disruptions that are little modified by subsequent evolutionary processes.
Aims. We analyze a very young asteroid family associated with (18777) Hobson in the central part of the main belt. We aim at (i) understanding its peculiar size distribution, and (ii) setting an upper limit on the characteristic dispersal velocity at subkilometer sizes corresponding to the smallest visible Hobson members.
Methods. We identified the Hobson family using an up-to-date asteroid catalog. A significant increase in the number of its known members allowed us to study their size distribution and compare it with computer simulations of catastrophic disruptions. Backward orbital integrations of the heliocentric orbits allowed us to confirm the previously suggested age of Hobson and helped to estimate limits of the ejection speed.
Results. The Hobson family has an unusual size distribution: two nearly equal-size bodies, followed by a population of smaller asteroids, whose distribution takes a characteristic power law. There are two possibilities to explain these data. Either a canonical impact onto a single parent body, requiring fine-tuned impact conditions that have not been studied so far, or an unconventional model for the parent object of the Hobson family, namely a binary with ≃7−9 km primary and a ≃2.5 km secondary. In the latter case, the primary was disrupted, leaving behind the largest remnant (18777) Hobson and a suite of subkilometer asteroids. The second largest asteroid, (57738) 2001 UZ160, is the nearly intact satellite of the parent binary. The excellent convergence of nominal orbits of Hobson members sets an upper limit of ≃(10−20) m s−1 for the initial dispersal velocity of the known members, which is consistent with both formation models. The Hobson family provides a so far rare opportunity of studying disruptions of small asteroids in a situation in which both the material strength and reaccumulation efficiency play an important role.
Key words: celestial mechanics / minor planets, asteroids: general
Movies associated to Figs. 8 and 9 are available at https://www.aanda.org
© ESO 2021
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