We report the direct detection of radiation pressure on the asteroid 2009 BD, one of the smallest multi-opposition near-Earth objects currently known, with H ̃ 28.4. Under the purely gravitational model of NEODyS the object is currently considered a possible future impactor, with impact solutions starting in 2071. The detection of a radiation-related acceleration allows us to estimate an Area to Mass Ratio ( AMR) for the object, that can be converted (under some assumptions) into a range of possible values for its average density. Our result AMR = (2.97 ± 0.33) × 10 -4 m 2 kg -1 is compatible with the object being of natural origin, and it is narrow enough to exclude a man-made nature. The possible origin of this object, its future observability, and the importance of radiation pressure in the impact monitoring process are also discussed.
- Pub Date:
- May 2012
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- To be submitted for refereed publication. Preliminary analysis based on the 2009-2010 data, published on arXiv because of the current observability window of the target