DDA2001, April2001
Session 7. Small Rocky Things
Tuesday, 1:20-3:00pm

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[7.05] Debiased Orbital and Size Distributions of the NEOs

W.F. Bottke (SwRI), A. Morbidelli (Obs. Nice), R. Jedicke (U. Arizona), J.M. Petit (Obs. Nice), H.F. Levison (SwRI)

The orbital and absolute magnitude distribution of the Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) is difficult to compute, partly because known NEOs are biased by complicated observational selection effects but also because only a modest fraction of the entire NEO population has been discovered so far. To circumvent these problems, we created a model NEO population which was fit to known NEOs discovered or accidentally rediscovered by Spacewatch. Our method was to numerically integrate thousands of test bodies from four ``intermediate sources'': three in or adjacent to the main asteroid belt (Bottke et al.\ 2000, Science 288, 2190.) and one in the Kuiper belt (Levison and Duncan 1997, Icarus 127, 13). The test bodies which passed into the NEO region were tracked until they were eliminated. Next, we calculated the observational biases and assumed a functional form for the absolute magnitude (H) distribution associated with objects on those orbits. By merging the observational biases with our NEO dynamical ``roadmaps'' and an observed NEO H distribution, we produced a probability distribution which was fit to the biased NEO population. By testing a range of possible source combinations, a ``best-fit'' distribution was then deconvolved to provide the debiased orbital and H distributions for the NEO population as well as the relative importance of each NEO replenishment source.

Our best-fit model predicts there are ~1010 H < 18 NEOs out to T > 2 (i.e., a \lesssim 7.4 AU), with ~ 55% coming from the inner main belt (a < 2.5 AU), ~ 30% from the central main belt (2.5 < a < 2.8 AU), and ~15% from the Jupiter-family comet region. These results suggest that roughly 40% of the H < 18 NEOs have been found. The Amor, Apollo, and Aten populations contain 30%, 64%, and 6% of the H < 22 NEO population, respectively. The population of objects inside Earth's orbit (IEOs) are about 2% the size of the NEO population. Active and extinct comets make up a third of the entire km-sized NEO population with T > 2. These bodies mostly reside on orbits with 2 < T < 3.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: bottke@boulder.swri.edu

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