High ecliptic latitude survey for small main-belt asteroids.
TERAI T., TAKAHASHI J. and ITOH Y.
Abstract (from CDS):
Main-belt asteroids have been continuously colliding with one another since they were formed. Their size distribution is primarily determined by the size dependence of asteroid strength against catastrophic impacts. The strength scaling law as a function of body size could depend on collision velocity, but the relationship remains unknown, especially under hypervelocity collisions comparable to 10 km/s. We present a wide-field imaging survey at an ecliptic latitude of about 25° for investigating the size distribution of small main-belt asteroids that have highly inclined orbits. The analysis technique allowing for efficient asteroid detections and high-accuracy photometric measurements provides sufficient sample data to estimate the size distribution of sub-kilometer asteroids with inclinations larger than 14°. The best-fit power-law slopes of the cumulative size distribution are 1.25±0.03 in the diameter range of 0.6-1.0 km and 1.84±0.27 in 1.0-3.0 km. We provide a simple size distribution model that takes into consideration the oscillations of the power-law slope due to the transition from the gravity-scaled regime to the strength-scaled regime. We find that the high-inclination population has a shallow slope of the primary components of the size distribution compared to the low-inclination populations. The asteroid population exposed to hypervelocity impacts undergoes collisional processes where large bodies have a higher disruptive strength and longer lifespan relative to tiny bodies than the ecliptic asteroids.
minor planets, asteroids: general