The fast spin of near-Earth asteroid (455213) 2001 OE84, revisited after 14 years: Constraints on internal structure

D. Polishook, N. Moskovitz, A. Thirouin, A. Bosh, S. Levine, C. Zuluaga, S. C. Tegler, O. Aharonson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


At a mean diameter of ∼650 m, the near-Earth asteroid (455213) 2001 OE84 (OE84 for short) has a rapid rotation period of 0.486542 ± 0.000002 h, which is uncommon for asteroids larger than ∼200 m. We revisited OE84 14 years after it was first, and last, observed by Pravec et al. (2002) in order to measure again its spin rate and to search for changes. We have confirmed the rapid rotation and, by fitting the photometric data from 2001 and 2016 using the lightcurve inversion technique, we determined a retrograde sense of rotation, with the spin axis close to the ecliptic south pole; an oblate shape model of a/b=1.32±0.04 and b/c=1.8±0.2; and no change in spin rate between 2001 and 2016. Using these parameters we constrained the body's internal strength, and found that current estimations of asteroid cohesion (up to ∼80 Pa) are insufficient to maintain an intact rubble pile at the measured spin rate of OE84. Therefore, we argue that a monolithic asteroid, that can rotate at the rate of OE84 without shedding mass and without slowing down its spin rate, is the most plausible for OE84, and we give constraints on its age, since the time it was liberated from its parent body, between 2−10 million years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Nov 15 2017


  • Asteroids
  • Asteroids rotation
  • Near-Earth asteroids
  • Photometry
  • Rotational dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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