The Lightcurve Of 4179-Toutatis - Evidence For Complex Rotation

Spencer, John R. and Akimov, Leonid A. and Angeli, Claudia and Angelini, Paolo and Barucci, M. Antonietta and Dorokhov, N.I. and De Sanctis, M.Cristina and Dotto, Elisabetta and Ezhkova, O.B. and Fulchignoni, Marcello and Green, Simon F. and Harris, Alan W. and Howell, Ellen S. and Hudecek, Tomas and Kalashnikov, Alexander V. and Kobelev, Valerij V. and Korobova, Z.B. and Zellner, Ben and Birch, Peter and Blanco, Carlo and Buie, Marc W. and Caruso, Anna and Chiornij, Vasilij G. and Colas, Francois and Dentchev, Peter and Koshkin, N.I. and Kozhevnikov, Valdimir P. (1995) The Lightcurve Of 4179-Toutatis - Evidence For Complex Rotation. Icarus, 117 (1). pp. 71-89. ISSN 0019-1035. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not available from this repository. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL


The Apollo asteroid 4179 Toutatis passed within 0.0242 AU of Earth in December 1992, and photometry was obtained by observers from at least 25 sites around the world, at solar phase angles between 121 degrees and 0.2 degrees. The phase curve is well described in the H, G system with a mean H of 15.3 and a slope parameter G of 0.10 +/- 0.10. However, the rotational lightcurve is very unusual. The amplitude is large (1.2 magnitudes) and the rotation period is extremely long (several days). Most remarkably, the lightcurve does not appear to be periodic: it is unlikely that a single rotation period can account for the lightcurve even when the rapidly changing viewing and illumination geometry during the close Earth approach is taken into account, though strong lightcurve minima recurred approximately every 7.3 days. The likely explanation is that Toutatis has complex, tumbling, rotation with a characteristic period between 3 and 7 days. As noted by A. W. Harris (1994 Icarus 107, 209-211), the damping time scale from complex to simple rotation for a small, slowly rotating asteroid like Toutatis is so long that complex rotation is expected, but Toutatis is the first asteroid to show such strong observational evidence for complex rotation.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science
Divisions: Faculties > Science Technology and Medical Studies > School of Physical Sciences > Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences
Depositing User: I.T. Ekpo
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2009 10:53
Last Modified: 01 May 2014 11:33
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):