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Journal Paper

전체
Spin Change of Asteroid 2012 TC4 Probably by Radiation Torques
  • Hee-Jae Lee; Josef Durech; David Vokrouhlicky; et al.
  • 2021-03-01
  • ASTRONOMICAL JOURNAL 161 3 : 112-1~112-23
Asteroid 2012 TC4 is a small (∼10 m) near-Earth object that was observed during its Earth close approaches in 2012 and 2017. Earlier analyses of light curves revealed its excited rotation state. We collected all available photometric data from the two apparitions to reconstruct its rotation state and convex shape model. We show that light curves from 2012 and 2017 cannot be fitted with a single set of model parameters; the rotation and precession periods are significantly different for these two data sets, and they must have changed between or during the two apparitions. Nevertheless, we could fit all light curves with a dynamically self-consistent model assuming that the spin states of 2012 TC4 in 2012 and 2017 were different. To interpret our results, we developed a numerical model of its spin evolution in which we included two potentially relevant perturbations: (i) gravitational torque due to the Sun and Earth and (ii) radiation torque, known as the Yarkovsky-O'Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack (YORP) effect. Despite our model simplicity, we found that the role of gravitational torques is negligible. Instead, we argue that the observed change of its spin state may be plausibly explained as a result of the YORP torque. To strengthen this interpretation, we verify that (i) the internal energy dissipation due to material inelasticity and (ii) an impact with a sufficiently large interplanetary particle are both highly unlikely causes of its observed spin state change. If true, this is the first case where the YORP effect has been detected for a tumbling body.