Trojan Asteroids in the Kepler Campaign 6 Field

Erin Lee Ryan, Benjamin N.L. Sharkey, Chick E Woodward

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12 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report on a Kepler spacecraft survey during the K2 mission to characterize the rotational properties of 56 Trojan asteroids in the L4 cloud. More than one rotational period was observed for 51 of these targets, allowing for well constrained lightcurve rotation periods and amplitudes, five of which are found to be in conflict with previously published values. We find ∼10% of objects have rotational periods longer than 100 hr, an excess of slow rotators 10 times larger than suggested from the literature. Investigation of the rotational frequencies of our Kepler sample when combined with high-quality lightcurves in the literature reveals the distribution of rotational frequencies is non-Maxwellian even when consideration is given to size-dependent variations in rotational rate. From investigation of lightcurve shapes and amplitudes, we estimate the binary fraction within the Trojan population to be ∼6%-36% depending on the methodology utilized to identify binary candidates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume153
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2017

Keywords

  • asteroids: general
  • minor planets

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