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Title: DISINTEGRATING ASTEROID P/2013 R3

Splitting of the nuclei of comets into multiple components has been frequently observed but, to date, no main-belt asteroid has been observed to break up. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, we find that main-belt asteroid P/2013 R3 consists of 10 or more distinct components, the largest up to 200 m in radius (assumed geometric albedo of 0.05) each of which produces a coma and comet-like dust tail. A diffuse debris cloud with total mass ∼2 × 10{sup 8} kg further envelopes the entire system. The velocity dispersion among the components, ΔV ∼ 0.2-0.5 m s{sup –1}, is comparable to the gravitational escape speeds of the largest members, while their extrapolated plane-of-sky motions suggest a break up between 2013 February and September. The broadband optical colors are those of a C-type asteroid. We find no spectral evidence for gaseous emission, placing model-dependent upper limits to the water production rate ≤1 kg s{sup –1}. Breakup may be due to a rotationally induced structural failure of the precursor body.
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5]
  1. Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences, UCLA, 595 Charles Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1567 (United States)
  2. Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max-Planck-Str. 2, D-37191 Katlenburg-Lindau (Germany)
  3. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, Laurel, MD 20723 (United States)
  4. Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States)
  5. Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, 1629 E. University Boulevard, Tucson, AZ 85721-0092 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22365964
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 784; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ALBEDO; ASTEROIDS; COLOR; COMETS; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; MASS; PLANETS; PRECURSOR; SPACE; TELESCOPES; VELOCITY; WATER