Origin and Formation of Large Multiple Asteroid Systems

Franck Marchis


Since the discovery of Ida’s companion Dactyl in 1993, the number of known multiple asteroids has been continuously increasing and today, ~203 asteroids from every population of SSSBs in the solar system are known to possess a companion. Since 2003, we have been conducting a survey of large asteroids (D>40 km) to search for satellites using various ground-based telescopes and techniques, such as high angular resolution imaging and lightcurve photometry. We are also conducting a study program using additional techniques such as VIS/NIR spectroscopy, and mid-IR spectroscopy with the Spitzer telescope to determine the sizes and shapes of their components and bring constrain on their formation and bulk densities. During this talk, I will cover the latest insights into these multiple systems which are key to understanding how they formed and evolved, show that these multiple asteroid systems are also unique natural laboratories for studying surface modification processes (space weathering, impacts, shattering) and discuss their potential as targets for space mission.

Date: Thursday, 22 March 2012
Time: 11:30
Where: Université de Montréal
  Pavillon Roger-Gaudry, local D-460
Contact: David Lafrenière