- Open Access
A review of comet and asteroid statistics
Earth, Planets and Space volume 51, pages1155–1161(1999)
The statistics of Earth-approaching asteroids are first summarized, and an enhanced frequency of objects smaller than 100 meters is noted. Superposed on these random hazards may be a periodic one of new comets due to galactic tides of the Oort Cloud with a period of 26–36 Myr (Rampino, 1998). New asteroids and comets are being found evermore frequently because new telescope-and-detector systems are coming on line. These are intended primarily for the discovery of dangerous objects, but a beginning has been made with the study of statistics of main-belt asteroids. In addition to trans-Neptunian objects, cis-Neptunian “Centaurs” are recognized, which may be a link in the evolution of short-period comets and thereby contribute to the flux of Earth approachers. With the new equipment coming on line, we are beginning to see that the global hazard will be mostly quantified within a few decades. We do see a shortage in astrometric follow up fainter than about the 20th magnitude.
Alvarez, W. and R. A. Muller, Evidence from crater ages for periodic impacts on the Earth, Nature, 308, 718–720, 1984.
Anders, E., Fragmentation history of asteroids, Icarus, 4, 399–408, 1958.
Angel, R., M. Lesser, R. Sarlot, and T. Dunham, An 8-meter telescope to image a 3-degree field, 1999 (preprint).
Armandroff, T., G. Bernstein, I. Dell’Antonio, W. Hu, J. Larsen, R. Millis, P. Pinto, A. Tyson, D. Wittman, and D. Zaritsky, Dark matter telescope science drivers, 1999 (preprint).
Asphaug, E., S. J. Ostro, R. S. Hudson, D. J. Scheeres, and W. Benz, Disruption of kilometre-sized asteroids by energetic collisions, Nature, 393, 437–440, 1998.
Bailey, M. E., J. E. Chambers, G. Hahn, J. V. Scotti, and G. Tancredi, Transfer probabilities between Jupiter and Saturn-family orbits: Application to 1992 AD = 5145, in Observations and Physical Properties of Small Solar System Bodies, edited by J. Surdej and J. C. Gerard, pp. 285–287, Proc. 30th Lie`ge Int. Astrophys. Colloq., Univ. Lie`ge, Belgium, 1992.
Ceplecha, Z., Influx of large meteoroids onto Earth, Proc. SPIE, 3116, 134–143, 1997.
Chapman, C. R. and D. Morrison, Impacts on the Earth by asteroids and comets: assessing the hazard, Nature, 367, 33–40, 1994.
Chapman, C. R., J. Veverka, M. J. S. Belton, G. Neukum, and D. Morrison, Cratering on Gaspra, Icarus, 120, 231–245, 1996.
Davis, D. R., E. V. Ryan, and P. Farinella, Asteroid collisional evolution: Results from current scaling algorithms, Planet. Space Sci., 42, 599–610, 1994.
Durda, D. D., R. Greenberg, and R. Jedicke, Collisional models and scaling laws: A new interpretation of the shape of the main-belt asteroid size distribution, Icarus,135, 431–440, 1998.
Gehrels, T, Photometric studies of asteroids. VI. Photographic magnitudes, Astrophys. J., 125, 550–570, 1957.
Gehrels, T, Photometry of asteroids, in Surfaces and Interiors of Planets and Satellites, edited by A. Dollfus, pp. 319–376, Academic Press, London, 1970.
Gehrels, T, Faint comet scanning, Icarus, 47, 518–522, 1981.
Gehrels, T, On the feasibility of observing small asteroids with Galileo, Venera, and Comet-Rendezvous-Asteroid flyby missions, Icarus, 66, 288–296, 1986.
Gehrels, T, Scanning with charge-coupled devices, Space Sci. Rev., 58, 347–375, 1991.
Gehrels, T, (ed.), Hazards due to Comets and Asteroids,1300 pp., Univ. Ariz. Press, Tucson, 1994.
Harris, A. W., Making and breaking asteroids, Nature, 393, 418–419, 1998.
Jedicke, R. and J. D. Herron, Observational constraints on the Centaur population, Icarus, 127, 494–507, 1997.
Jedicke, R. and T. S. Metcalfe, The orbital and absolute magnitude distributions of main belt asteroids, Icarus, 131, 245–260, 1998.
Jewitt, D. and J. Luu, Discovery of the candidate Kuiper belt object 1992 QB1, Nature, 362, 730–732, 1993.
Jewitt, D., J. Luu, and C. Trujillo, Large Kuiper Belt Objects: The Mauna Kea 8k CCD Survey, Astron. J., 115, 2125, 1998.
Kuiper, G. P., Y. Fujita, T. Gehrels, I. Groeneveld, J. Kent, G. Van Biesbroeck, and C. J. van Houten, Survey of asteroids, Astrophys. J. Suppl., 3, 289–428, 1958.
Larsen, J. A., The Spacewatch survey for bright Kuiper belt objects, Bull. Am. Astron. Soc., 30, 1113, 1998.
Larson, S., J. Brownlee, C. Hergenrother, and T. Spahr, The Catalina sky survey for NEOs, Bull. Am. Astron. Soc., 30, 1037, 1998.
Lewis, J. S., M. S. Matthews, and M. L. Guerrieri, (eds.), Resources of Near-Earth Space, 987 pp., Univ. Ariz. Press, Tucson, 1993.
Malhotra, R., M. J. Duncan, and H. F. Levinson, Dynamics of the Kuiper Belt, in Protostars and Planets IV, edited by V G. Mannings et al.,Univ. Arizona Press, 2000 (in press).
Marsden, B. G. and D. Steel, Warning times and impact probabilities for long-period comets, in Hazards due to Comets and Asteroids, edited by T. Gehrels, pp. 221–239, 1994.
McMillan, R. S., Spacewatch search for material resources near Earth, in Proceedings of the Conference on Space Manufacturing, Space Studies Institute, Princeton, 1999 (in press).
McMillan, R. S., T. H. Bressi, A. S. Descour, T. Gehrels, J. A. Larsen, J. L. Montani, M. L. Perry, M. T. Read, and A. F. Tubbiolo, Progress report on the 1.8-meter Spacewatch telescope, Bull. Am. Astron. Soc., 30, 1114, 1998.
Merline, W. J., L. M. Close, C. Dumas, C. R. Chapman, F. Roddier, F. Ménard, D. C. Slater, G. Duvert, C. Shelton, and T. Morgan, Discovery of a moon orbiting the asteroid (45)Eugenia, Nature, 401, 565–568, 1999.
Napier, W. M., NEOs and impacts: The galactic connection, Cel. Mech. Dyn. Astron., 69, 59–75, 1998.
Oort, J. H., Empirical data and the origin of comets, in The Moon, Meteorites and Comets, edited by B. M. Middlehurst and G. P. Kuiper, pp. 665–673, Univ. Chicago Press, 1963.
Ostro, S. J., P. Pravec, L. A. M. Benner, R. S. Hudson, L. Sarounova, M. D. Hicks, D. L. Rabinowitz, J. V. Scotti, D. J. Tholen, M. Wolf, R. F. Jurgens, M. L. Thomas, J. D. Giorgini, P. W. Chodas, D. K. Yeomans, R. Rose, R. Frye, K. D. Rosema, R. Winkler, and M. A. Slade, Radar and optical observations of asteroid 1998 KY26, Science, 285, 557–559, 1999.
Perry, M., T. Bressi, R. McMillan, A. Tubbiolo, and L. Barr, The 1.8-meter Spacewatch telescope motion control system, in Telescope Control Systems III, Proc. SPIE, 3351, 450–465, 1998.
Pravdo, S. H., D. L. Rabinowitz, E. F. Helin, K. J. Lawrence, R. J. Bambery, C. C. Clark, S. L. Groom, S. Levin, J. Lorre, S. B. Shaklan, P. Kervin, J. A. Africano, P. Sydney, and V. Soohoo, The Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) Program: An automated system for telescope control, wide-field imaging, and object detection, Astron. J., 117, 1616–1633, 1999.
Rabinowitz, D. L., The size distribution of the Earth-approaching asteroids, Astrophys. J., 407, 412–427, 1993.
Rabinowitz, D. L., Are main-belt asteroids a sufficient source for the Earth-approaching asteroids? Predicted vs observed orbital distributions, Icarus, 127, 33–54, and 130, 287–295, 1997.
Rabinowitz, D. L., E. Bowell, E. Shoemaker, and K. Muinonen, The population of Earth-crossing asteroids, in Hazards due to Comets and Asteroids, edited by T. Gehrels, pp. 285–312, 1994.
Rampino, M. R., The galactic theory of mass extinctions: an update, Cel. Mech. Dyn. Astron., 69, 49–58, 1998.
Rampino, M. R. and B. M. Haggerty, The “Shiva Hypothesis”: Impacts, mass extinctions, and the galaxy, Earth Moon Planets, 71, 441–460, 1996.
Rampino, M. R. and R. B. Stothers, Terrestrial mass extinctions, Cometary impacts and the Sun’s motion perpendicular to the galactic plane, Nature, 308, 709–712, 1984.
Raup, D. M. and J. J. Sepkoski, Jr., Periodicity of extinctions in the geologic past, Proc. Natl. Ac. Sc., 81, 801–805, 1984.
Scholl, H., G. Hahn, M. Hoffman, A. Maury, S. Mottola, and ODAS Team, The German-French NEO detection program ODAS, Bull. Am. Astron. Soc., 30, 1037, 1998.
Scotti, J. V, D. L. Rabinowitz, and B. G. Marsden, Near miss by a small asteroid, Nature, 354, 287–289, 1991.
Smoluchowski, R., J. N. Bahcall, and M. S. Matthews, (eds.), The Galaxy and the Solar System, 495 pp., Univ. Ariz. Press, Tucson, 1986.
Spray, J. G., S. P. Kelley, and D. B. Rowley, Evidence for a late Triassic multiple impact event on Earth, Nature, 392, 171–173, 1998.
Steel, D. I., R. H. McNaught, G. J. Garradd, D. J. Asher, and K. S. Russell, AANEAS: A valedictory report, Austral. J. Astron., 7, 67–77, 1997.
Stokes, G. H., H. E. M. Viggh, F. L. Shelly, M. S. Blythe, and J. S. Stuart, Results from the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) Project, Bull. Am. Astron. Soc., 30, 1042, 1998.
Valtonen, M. J., J. Q. Zheng, J. J. Matese, and P. G. Whitman, Near-Earth populations of comets from the Oort Cloud and their impacts with planets, Earth Moon Planets, 71, 219–223, 1995.
van Houten, C. J., I. van Houten-Groeneveld, P. Herget, and T. Gehrels, The Palomar-Leiden survey of faint minor planets, Astron. Astrophys. Suppl., 2, 339–448, 1970.
van Houten, C. J., P. Herget, and B. G. Marsden, The Palomar-Leiden survey of faint minor planets: Conclusion, Icarus, 59, 1–19, 1984.
van Houten-Groeneveld, I., C. J. van Houten, M. Wisse-Schouten, C. Bardwell, and T. Gehrels, The 1977 Palomar-Leiden Trojan survey, Astron. Astrophys., 224, 299–302, 1989.
van Houten, C. J., I. van Houten-Groeneveld, M. Wisse-Schouten, C. Bardwell, D. W. E. Green, and T. Gehrels, The second Palomar-Leiden Trojan survey, Icarus, 19, 326–333, 1991.
Zhu, J., J. Chen, X. Zhou, Z. Zheng, Z. Jiang, Y. Li, L. Deng, B. Zhao, Z. Zheng, H. Wu, S. Xue, and Z. Shang, BAO Schmidt CCD asteroid program: First 4 years’ report, Asteroids Comets Meteors, 1999 (submitted).
About this article
Cite this article
Gehrels, T. A review of comet and asteroid statistics. Earth Planet Sp 51, 1155–1161 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03351590
- Mass Extinction
- Oort Cloud
- Main Belt
- Dangerous Object
- Kuiper Belt Object