Asteroid Systems: Binaries, Triples, and Pairs
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.2458/azu_uapress_9780816532131-ch019
In the past decade, the number of known binary near-Earth asteroids has more than quadrupled and the number of known large main belt asteroids with satellites has doubled. Half a dozen triple asteroids have been discovered, and the previously unrecognized populations of asteroid pairs and small main belt binaries have been identified. The current observational evidence confirms that small (<20 km) binaries form by rotational fission and establishes that the YORP effect powers the spin-up process. A unifying paradigm based on rotational fission and post-fission dynamics can explain the formation of small binaries, triples, and pairs. Large (>20 km) binaries with small satellites are most likely created during large collisions.