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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Question about divorced asteroid pairs orbit stability

I refer to the list of most recently potentially divorced binary pairs found by Robert D, Matson.

I used JPL Horizons Web Interface to get the orbital data for (63440) 2001 MD30 and (331933) 2004 TV14

Then, I used the Mercury simulator to look at their past and future orbits and I used the R package to plot the results:

Let's look at the past:

Let's now look at the future:

I do not know if it is common for two divorced asteroid pairs to continue to stay on a very similar orbit. At least in this case, these asteroids will come again very very near. 

Not clear if this is a proof of the fact that they are a divorced pair or this is just a nice example of two asteroids that have nothing to do but are by chance on a (almost) collision orbit.

The nominal result for the event "minimum distance" is:
  • date: 25-May-5418
  • minimum distance : 8.95e-06 (AU) ... just about 1300 km
  • relative velocity:       2.16e-07 ( AU/day ) ... just about 0.37 m/s

uncertainty error : unknown

Kind Regards,
Alessandro Odasso

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