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A Simple Probabilistic Model to Estimate the Population of near-Earth Asteroids

Authors
Journal
Icarus
0019-1035
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
153
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1006/icar.2001.6650

Abstract

Abstract A simple probabilistic model for estimating the population of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) by comparing the rate of redetections of previously known asteroids of a given size with new detections during a test interval of time is described. We apply this method to the whole sample of NEA observations (discovery observations and observations from apparitions of previously known asteroids) made by the Lincoln near-Earth Asteroids Research Project within the period Jan. 1, 1999–Dec. 31, 2000 and published by the Minor Planet Center. The numbers of discoveries and redetections are sufficient to estimate the total population in the absolute magnitude range 13.5< H≤20.0. By this method we obtain an estimate of the number of NEAs of H≤18.0 (diameter ≥ 1 km) of 855±101. We note, however, that the expected biases of this method all work in the direction of underestimating the true population; thus our estimate is consistent with other recent estimates, for example, W. F. Bottke et al. (2000, Science 288, 2190–2194), who obtain 910±110.

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