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Chaotic dynamics in the (47171) Lempo triple system

Authors: Correia, ACM

Ref.: ICARUS 305, 250-261 (2018)

Abstract: We investigate the dynamics of the (47171) Lempo triple system, also known by 1999TC36. We derive a full 3D N-body model that takes into account the orbital and spin evolution of all bodies, which are assumed triaxial ellipsoids. We show that, for reasonable values of the shapes and rotational periods, the present best fitted orbital solution for the Lempo system is chaotic and unstable in short time-scales. The formation mechanism of this system is unknown, but the orbits can be stabilised when tidal dissipation is taken into account. The dynamics of the Lempo system is very rich, but depends on many parameters that are presently unknown. A better understanding of this systems thus requires more observations, which also need to be fitted with a complete model like the one presented here.