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Orbital Evolution of an Active Quasi-Hilda Object with a Short Dynamical Lifetime

Presentation #202.08 in the session Asteroid Dynamics.

Published onOct 20, 2022
Orbital Evolution of an Active Quasi-Hilda Object with a Short Dynamical Lifetime

We present the results of our orbital analysis of a solar system minor planet near the asteroid/comet dynamical transition boundary. This analysis follows our investigation into a second activity epoch for this object prompted by results from the NASA Partner Citizen Science project Active Asteroids. Using a cluster of orbital clones, we ran a suite of dynamical simulations on our object of interest. We find that this object undergoes approximately ten close encounters with Jupiter over the timespan -250 years < t < 350 years. Because of these close encounters, the orbit of this object is not well-determined outside of this range of times given current observational uncertainties. Hence, dynamical chaos dominates prior to 250 years ago and beyond 350 years from now. During this timespan, we also see our object of interest migrate from an orbit primarily external to Jupiter to an orbit mainly interior to Jupiter. We determine that this object is currently a Quasi-Hilda, a minor planet orbiting near the Hilda asteroid group, but not within the 3:2 interior mean motion resonance with Jupiter that defines the Hildas. This object most likely came from either a Centaur or Jupiter Family Comet orbit in the last 250 years and it has a high probability to transition away from the Quasi-Hilda region into the Jupiter Family Comet region in the next 350 years; however, there is an approximately 15% probability that this object will instead become an active asteroid. Additionally, in the next 250 years, our object of interest will migrate back and forth between outer main belt asteroid and Jupiter Family Comet orbits roughly ten times.

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