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Candidates for asteroid dust trails

Nesvorný, David and Sykes, Mark and Lien, David J. and Stansberry, John and Reach, William T. and Vokrouhlický, David and Bottke, William F. and Durda, Daniel D. and Jayaraman, Sumita and Walker, Russell G. (2006) Candidates for asteroid dust trails. Astronomical Journal, 132 (2). pp. 582-595. ISSN 0004-6256.

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The contribution of different sources to the circumsolar dust cloud (known as the zodiacal cloud) can be deduced from diagnostic observations. We used the Spitzer Space Telescope to observe the diffuse thermal emission of the zodiacal cloud near the ecliptic. Several structures were identified in these observations, including previously known asteroid dust bands, which are thought to have been produced by recent asteroid collisions, and cometary trails. Interestingly, two of the detected dust trails, denoted t1 and t2 here, cannot be linked to any known comet. Trails t1 and t2 represent a much larger integrated brightness than all known cometary trails combined and may therefore be major contributors to the circumsolar dust cloud. We used our Spitzer observations to determine the orbits of these trails and were able to link them to two ("orphan" or type II) trails that were discovered by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) in 1983. The orbits of trails t1 and t2 that we determined by combining the Spitzer and IRAS data have semimajor axes, eccentricities, and inclinations like those of the main-belt asteroids. We therefore propose that trails t1 and t2 were produced by very recent (<~100 kyr old) collisional breakups of small, <~10 km diameter main-belt asteroids.

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Reach, William T.0000-0001-8362-4094
Additional Information:© 2006 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2006 March 16; accepted 2006 April 25; published 2006 June 20. This paper is based on work supported by the Spitzer Cycle 1 grant entitled "The Production of Zodiacal Dust by Asteroids and Comets." Work by D.N. was funded by NASA under PGG grant NAG513038. Research funds for W.F.B. were provided by NASA's OSS program (grant NAG510658). We thank T. Spahr for his inspiring comments on the submitted manuscript.
Subject Keywords:comets: general—interplanetary medium—minor planets, asteroids
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:NESaj06
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:5616
Deposited By: Lindsay Cleary
Deposited On:26 Oct 2006
Last Modified:02 Oct 2019 23:24

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