The shape and rotation of asteroid 2008 TC3


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Abstract– On October 6, 2008, a small F-class asteroid 2008 TC3 was discovered by Catalina Sky Survey telescope, and exploded 20 hr later in the Earth’s atmosphere at 37 km altitude. We analyzed available photometric data taken from 6 October 21:10 to 7 October 01:46 UT, and created a numerical model of a shape and rotation state of the asteroid. The asteroid was in excited rotational state. We found two approximately mirror solutions of orientation of its angular momentum vector. Rotational and precession periods are 99.20 and 97.00 s (errors of the rotational period for the two solutions are 0.03 and 0.04 s; of the precession period are 0.05 s for both solutions). The volume of the convex model and the length of the longest axis of the dynamically equivalent, equal volume ellipsoid are inline image and inline image, where pV is surface geometric albedo. Assuming a mean albedo value for F taxonomic class, 0.049 ± 0.010, the volume is (25 ± 10) m3 and the longest axis is (6.7 ± 0.8) m. This volume of the convex model is an upper limit on a real volume of the asteroid, which may be less by up to 20% due to concavities.