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Monday, January 9, 2017

2016 WF9 - a simulation based on Jan 5th orbital params

On Jan 5th, I downloaded the orbital parameters of asteroid 2016 WF9 and their uncertainty from the Horizons Web interface:

param     value        1-sigma

a             2.8729806 0.00200340
e             0.6582656 0.00022291
i            14.9994893 0.00329270
w        342.4286190 0.00216310
om      125.4222393 0.00428050
M        353.6898676 0.00394660

In spite of the fact that the uncertainty is still very high, I tried to make a simulation generating 100 virtual asteroids to see how many of them in the past would seem to come from a distance greater than 100 AU (cometary origin).

First, I used the R programming environment to generate the virtual asteroids.
An obvious check is that the mean value of their orbital parameters must be almost equal to the nominal values of asteroid 2016 WF9 and their standard deviation should be also almost equal to the uncertainty shown above.

In fact, looking at the virtual asteroids, I got:

a     mean     2.8729   sd 0.002
e     mean     0.6583   sd 2e-04
i      mean   14.9988   sd 0.0035
w    mean 342.4285   sd 0.0023
om  mean 125.4218   sd 0.0046
M    mean 353.6903   sd 0.004

As a second step I used the Mercury6 simulator by John E. Chambers, to simulate the past 1e8 days, output interval 100 days (hybrid algorithm).
The program simulated the behaviour of 101 asteroids (100 virtual asteroid + the "real" asteroid):

The result was that about 60 virtual asteroids would seem to have a cometary orgin (i.e. there was a time in the past when their distance from the sun was grater than 100 AU).

The earliest date is about 37500 years ago, the oldest date is constrained by the simulation period (about 275000 years ago) and the median value is 155000 years ago.

(for curiosity: the nominal orbital values of 2016 WF9 itself tells us that this can be a comet arrived 76000 years ago).

This is the graph showing the arrival time of the 60 virtual comets:

In the next weeks, when the orbit of asteroid  2016 WF9 will be better defined, I would like to repeat the simulation to see if and how much the simulation results will be different.

Kind Regards,
Alessandro Odasso


      Mercury Simulator - Mercury6
      J.E.Chambers (1999) ``A Hybrid
      Symplectic Integrator that Permits Close Encounters between
      Massive Bodies''. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical
      Society, vol 304, pp793-799.

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