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Near-earth binaries and triples: Origin and evolution of spin-orbital properties

  • Author(s): Fang, J;
  • Margot, JL
  • et al.

In the near-Earth asteroid population, binary and triple systems have been discovered with mutual orbits that have significant eccentricities as well as large semimajor axes. All known systems with eccentric orbits and all widely separated primary-satellite pairs have rapidly rotating satellites. Here, we study processes that can elucidate the origin of these spin-orbital properties. Binary formation models based on rotational fissioning can reproduce asynchronous satellites on orbits with high eccentricities and a wide range of separations, but do not match observed properties. We explore whether any evolutionary mechanisms can link the spin and orbital parameters expected from post-fission dynamics to those observed today. We investigate four processes: tidal torques, radiative perturbations (BYORP), close planetary encounters, and Kozai oscillations. We find that a combination of post-fission dynamics and tidal evolution can explain nearly all the spin-orbit properties in a sample of nine well-characterized near-Earth binaries and triples. The other mechanisms may act as well but are not required to explain the observed data. Lastly, we describe evolutionary pathways between observed spin-orbital states including synchronous and circular, asynchronous and circular, and asynchronous and eccentric configurations.

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