The Orbital and Absolute Magnitude Distributions of Main Belt Asteroids.
R. Jedicke and T. S. Metcalfe
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory,University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, 85721 firstname.lastname@example.org@rm-209.lpl.arizona.edu
We have developed a model-independent analytical method for debiasing the four-dimensional (
) distribution obtained in any asteroid observation program andhave applied the technique to results obtained with the 0.9m Spacewatch Telescope.From 1992 to 1995 Spacewatch observed
near the ecliptic and made obser-vations of more than 60,000 asteroids to a limiting magnitude of V
21. The debiasedsemi-major axis and inclination distributions of Main Belt asteroids in this sample with11
16 match the distributions of the known asteroids with
5. Theabsolute magnitude distribution was studied in the range 8
< H <
5. We have foundthat the set of known asteroids is complete to about absolute magnitudes 12.75, 12.25and 11.25 in the inner, middle and outer regions of the belt respectively. The numberdistribution as a function of absolute magnitude can not be represented by a singlepower-law (10
) in any region. We were able to deﬁne broad ranges in
in eachpart of the belt where
was nearly constant. Within these ranges of
the slope doesnot correspond to the value of 0.5 expected for an equilibrium cascade in self-similarcollisions (Dohnanyi, 1971). The value of
varies with absolute magnitude and showsa ‘kink’ in all regions of the belt for
13. This absolute magnitude corresponds to adiameter ranging from about 8.5 to 12.5 km depending on the albedo or region of thebelt.
The size distribution for a set of asteroids is crucial to an understanding of their past andcontinuing collisional evolution. It has long been recognized that the dips, bumps and slope of thesize distribution provide a glimpse into the interaction of objects orders of magnitude larger thanany possible terrestrial experiment. From a high resolution size distribution of Main Belt asteroids
Present Address: Department of Astronomy, University of Texas-Austin.