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Direct Detection of the Yarkovsky Effect by Radar Ranging to Asteroid 6489 Golevka

Science  05 Dec 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5651, pp. 1739-1742
DOI: 10.1126/science.1091452

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Abstract

Radar ranging from Arecibo, Puerto Rico, to the 0.5-kilometer near-Earth asteroid 6489 Golevka unambiguously reveals a small nongravitational acceleration caused by the anisotropic thermal emission of absorbed sunlight. The magnitude of this perturbation, known as the Yarkovsky effect, is a function of the asteroid's mass and surface thermal characteristics. Direct detection of the Yarkovsky effect on asteroids will help constrain their physical properties, such as bulk density, and refine their orbital paths. Based on the strength of the detected perturbation, we estimate the bulk density of Golevka to be Math grams per cubic centimeter.

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