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 The impact crater at the origin of the Julia family detected with VLT/SPHERE?

Publication date : 7 November 2018


It has been proposed that the 140-km sized asteroid (89)Julia is the parent body of a small (33 members) and compact asteroid family that formed via a cratering collisional event. VLT/SPHERE observations presented by Vernazza et al. now permit a reconstruction of the 3D shape of this asteroid, and most noticeably reveal the presence of a large crater (D 75 km) in the object’s southern hemisphere. Based on numerical simulations, the authors further confirm the existence of the collisional family, and find that its properties are best explained by the impact of a D ∼ 8km asteroid on (89)Julia that occurred 30 to 120 Myrs ago, creating a D > 60 km impact crater at the surface. Thus, the crater directly imaged by VLT/SPHERE is likely to be the one at the origin of this family.


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