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Abstract

The distribution of near-Earth asteroid (NEA) rotation rates differs considerably from the similar distribution of Main Belt asteroids (MBAs) by the presence of excesses of fast and slow rotators, which are not observed or not so prominent in the distribution for MBAs. Among possible reasons for the difference, there can be influence of solar radiation on spin rate of small NEAs, the so-called “YORP effect,” which appears due to reflection, absorption, and IR re-emission of the sunlight by an irregularly shaped rotating asteroid. It is known that the YORP-effect action strongly depends on the amount of solar energy obtained by the body (insolation), its size, and albedo. The analysis of observation data has shown that: (1) the mean diameter of NEAs decreases from the middle of the distribution to its ends, that is, the excesses of slow rotators (ω ≤ 2 rev day−1) and fast rotators (ω ≥ 8 rev day−1) are composed of smaller NEAs than in the middle of the distribution; (2) NEAs of both excesses are in the orbits where their insolation is about 8–10% larger than that of NEAs in the middle of the distribution; and (3) the objects in both excesses have a little lower albedo on average than that of objects in the middle of the distribution. All these results qualitatively agree well with the YORP-effect action and may be considered as independent arguments in favor of it.