Determination of the mass of Ceres based on the most gravitationally efficient close encounters


  • Andjelka B. Kovačević

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    1. Department of Astronomy, Faculty of Mathematics, University of Belgrade, Studentski trg 16, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia and Isaac Newton Institute of Chile, Yugoslavia Branch
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In this paper, a recalculated value of the mass of Ceres is presented, based on the explicit tracking of its gravitational influence on the orbital evolution of 21 selected asteroids during their mutual close encounters. A new modified method was used for the mass determination, which is based on connecting pre-encounter observations to the orbit determined from post-encounter observations. The calculated weighted mean value of the mass of Ceres, based on the modified method, is (4.54 ± 0.07) 10−10 M. The standard procedure provides a result of (4.70 ± 0.04) 10−10 M. It is found that the correlation between individual estimated masses, based on the modified and standard methods, is 0.78. This confirms that the modified method is reliable.