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Debris of Asteroid Disruptions Close to the Sun

Ye, Quanzhi and Granvik, Mikael (2019) Debris of Asteroid Disruptions Close to the Sun. Astrophysical Journal, 873 (2). Art. No. 104. ISSN 1538-4357. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab05ba.

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The under-abundance of asteroids on orbits with small perihelion distances suggests that thermally driven disruption may be an important process in the removal of rocky bodies in the solar system. Here we report our study of how the debris streams arise from possible thermally driven disruptions in the near-Sun region. We calculate that a small body with a diameter ≳ 0.5 km can produce a sufficient amount of material to allow the detection of the debris at the Earth as meteor showers, and that bodies at such sizes thermally disrupt every ~2 kyr. We also find that objects from the inner parts of the asteroid belt are more likely to become Sun-approachers than those from the outer parts. We simulate the formation and evolution of the debris streams produced from a set of synthetic disrupting asteroids drawn from Granvik et al.'s near-Earth object population model, and find that they evolve 10–70 times faster than streams produced at ordinary solar distances. We compare the simulation results to a catalog of known meteor showers on Sun-approaching orbits. We show that there is a clear overabundance of Sun-approaching meteor showers, which is best explained by a combining effect of comet contamination and an extended disintegration phase that lasts up to a few thousand years. We suggest that a few asteroid-like Sun-approaching objects that brighten significantly at their perihelion passages could, in fact, be disrupting asteroids. An extended period of thermal disruption may also explain the widespread detection of transiting debris in exoplanetary systems.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Ye, Quanzhi0000-0002-4838-7676
Granvik, Mikael0000-0002-5624-1888
Additional Information:© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2018 December 26; revised 2019 January 24; accepted 2019 February 4; published 2019 March 11. The authors thank Peter Brown for his contribution to an early version of the draft and Paul Wiegert for access to computational resource. Q.-Z.Y. is supported by the GROWTH project funded by the National Science Foundation under grant No. 1545949. M.G. is supported by grant No. 299543 from the Academy of Finland. This work was made possible by the facilities of the Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network (SHARCNET: and Compute/Calcul Canada. We extend our thanks to the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Science for holding its annual meeting, which provides an opportunity for the authors to meet in person and to fight their procrastination. Software: Astropy (Robitaille et al. 2013), Jupyter Notebooks (Kluyver et al. 2016), Matplotlib (Hunter 2007), MERCURY6 (Chambers 1999), NumPy (Walt et al. 2011). Data and codes that generate the figures and main results of this work are publicly available on Zenodo (doi:10.5281/zenodo.2547298) and GitHub (
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Academy of Finland299543
Subject Keywords:meteorites, meteors, meteoroids; minor planets, asteroids: general; protoplanetary disks
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190311-132254289
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Quanzhi Ye and Mikael Granvik 2019 ApJ 873 104
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:93689
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:11 Mar 2019 20:49
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 16:59

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