Photometric and dynamic characterisation of active asteroid (248370) 2005 QN173

Bojan Novakovic, Debora Pavela, Henry H. Hsieh, Dusan Marceta

Submitted on 2 September 2022


We present the physical and dynamical properties of the recently discovered active asteroid (248370) 2005 QN173 (aka 433P). From our observations, we derived two possible rotation period solutions of 2.7 and 4.1 hours. The corresponding light curve amplitudes computed after correcting for the effect of coma are 0.28 and 0.58 mag, respectively. Both period solutions are shorter than the critical rotation limit computed for a strengthless triaxial ellipsoid, suggesting that rotation mass shedding should at least partly be responsible for the observed activity. We confirm that the activity level is fading further, but at a very modest rate of only 0.006 mag/day, still also compatible with sublimation-driven activity. We found that 248370 likely belongs to the Themis asteroid family, making it a fourth main-belt comet associated with this group. Orbital characteristics of 248370 are also consistent with its origin in the young 288P cluster of asteroids. The 288P cluster is associated with its namesake main-belt comet, providing an exciting possibility for a comparative analysis of intriguing main-belt comets 248370 and 288P.


Comment: Accepted for publication in MNRAS

Subject: Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics