The team reconstructed Apollo's shape and determined its rotational state using brightness measurements from several years. They found that Apollo's rotation speed steadily increases, and showed that this is due to the re-radiation of solar energy from its surface. The study was published in Nature online on 7 March.
Apollo's rotation period is slightly over three hours, and it decreases only by four thousandths of a second per year, so the analysis required accurate mathematical methods. Because of the acceleration, Apollo is likely to break apart or radically change its figure in the future. It may already have done so earlier, and its present moonlet may be a remnant of such a breakup.
The study confirms that non-gravitational forces are important in the dynamical evolution of asteroids. Re-radiation of solar energy acts as a propulsion engine on the asteroid's surface. There are two coupled manifestations of this phenomenon: the one changing the orbit (the Yarkovsky effect), and the one changing the spin state (the Yarkovsky-Radzievskii-O'Keefe-Paddack or YORP effect). The study confirmed the latter, and the former was detected by radar in 2003. Non-gravitational orbital and spin changes can be significant or even critical over long time intervals. They affect the motion of asteroids that may collide with the Earth. The phenomenon can also be used to estimate the masses of asteroids. Apollo is now the first object larger than one kilometre across for which the propulsion effect has been detected.
Academy Research Fellow Mikko Kaasalainen works in the Centre of Excellence in Inverse Problem Research of the Academy of Finland at the Department of Mathematics and Statistics of the University of Helsinki. The CoE develops and applies mathematical methods in data analysis in various fields from biology to space research. Dr. Kaasalainen coordinates an international solar system research and observation network with researchers from Europe, America, Asia, and Australia. The study published in Nature was carried out by scientists from Finland, Czech Republic, the United States, and Ukraine.
Niko Rinta | alfa
NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms
25.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor
24.04.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
25.04.2017 | Life Sciences