The influence of rough surface thermal-infrared beaming on the Yarkovsky and YORP effects

Rozitis, B. and Green, S. F. (2012). The influence of rough surface thermal-infrared beaming on the Yarkovsky and YORP effects. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 423(1) pp. 367–388.



It is now becoming widely accepted that photon recoil forces from the asymmetric reflection and thermal re-radiation of absorbed sunlight are, together with collisions and gravitational forces, primary mechanisms governing the dynamical and physical evolution of asteroids. The Yarkovsky effect causes orbital semimajor axis drift, and the Yarkovsky-O'Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack (YORP) effect causes changes in the rotation rate and pole orientation. We present an adaptation of the Advanced Thermophysical Model to simultaneously predict the Yarkovsky and YORP effects in the presence of thermal-infrared beaming caused by surface roughness, which has been neglected or dismissed in all previous models. Tests on Gaussian random sphere shaped asteroids, and on the real shapes of asteroids (1620) Geographos and (6489) Golevka, show that rough surface thermal-infrared beaming enhances the Yarkovsky orbital drift by typically tens of per cent but it can be as much as a factor of 2. The YORP rotational acceleration is on average dampened by up to a third typically but can be as much as one-half. We find that the Yarkovsky orbital drift is only sensitive to the average degree, and not to the spatial distribution, of roughness across an asteroid surface. However, the YORP rotational acceleration is sensitive to the surface roughness spatial distribution, and can add significant uncertainties to the predictions for asteroids with relatively weak YORP effects. To accurately predict either effect the degree and spatial distribution of roughness across an asteroid surface must be known.

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