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Astron. Astrophys. 345, 643-645 (1999)

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Relation between rotation and lightcurve of 4179 Toutatis

A. Kryszczyska, T. Kwiatkowski, S. Breiter and T. Michalowski

Astronomical Observatory, A. Mickiewicz University, Sl oneczna 36, PL-60-286 Pozna, Poland (agn@amu.edu.pl)

Received 9 November 1998 / Accepted 4 February 1999


This paper presents results of modelling light variations of a freely precessing asteroid, assuming its ellipsoidal shape and a geometric light scattering law. The method is based on numerical integration of Euler equations, combined with the explicit expression of an asteroid's brightness as a function of Euler angles. Modelling is applied to simulate the lightcurve of 4179 Toutatis according to its triaxial ellipsoid shape and spin state given by Hudson & Ostro (1995). A good agreement is obtained between the frequencies of the simulated and observed lightcurves. The results explain some apparent discrepancies between the periods obtained from photometric and radar observations.

Key words: celestial mechanics, stellar dynamics – minor planets, asteroids – planets and satellites: individual: 4179 Toutatis

Send offprint requests to: A. Kryszczyska

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: April 19, 1999