This is a definite cratering family consisting of 20 Massalia and a mass of small fragments excavated from Massalia's surface by an impact. Massalia is by far the largest member with a diameter of about 150 km, while the next largest body, (7760) 1990 RW3 is only about 7 km in diameter. The mass of all the small members is negligible, less than about 1%, compared to Massalia.
The family is fairly young, estimated to have been created by an impact 150 to 200 million years ago. It has a distinctly two-lobed appearance in proper a--e space, with one lobe centered at semi-major axes of 2.38 AU, the other at about 2.43 AU, with the parent body Massalia itself located in between. The bodies in the lobes tend to be smaller on average than those in the central region. It has been shown that this structure is likely caused by slow drift of the semi-major axis caused by the Yarkovsky and YORP effects. Details of the lobes were used to calculate the age of the family.
Location and size
- * The Zappalà core members only reach e=0.170 but inspection of more modern proper elements reveals that the family extends at least to e=0.175
The Zappalà 1995 analysis found 42 core members, while a search of a recent proper element database for 96944 minor planets in 2005 yielded 761 objects lying within the rectangular-shaped region defined by the first table above. This would give about 0.8% of all main belt asteroids.
A number of interlopers have been identified, which share the same orbital elements as the true family members, but cannot have come from the same cratering event because of spectral (hence, compositional) differences. 2946 Muchachos and some other bodies were noted as interlopers during a detailed study of the family, while 2316 Jo-Ann is seen to have the wrong spectrum by inspection of the PDS asteroid taxonomy data set. Muchachos is larger than any of the true family members apart from Massalia itself.
- D. Vokrouhlický et al. (2006). "Yarkovsky/YORP chronology of asteroid families". Icarus 182: 118. Bibcode:2006Icar..182..118V. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2005.12.010.
- D. Nesvorný et al. (2003). "Recent origin of the solar system dust bands". The Astrophysical Journal 591 (1): 486–497. Bibcode:2003ApJ...591..486N. doi:10.1086/374807.
- V. Zappalà, Ph. Bendjoya, A. Cellino, P. Farinella and C. Froeschlé (August 1995). "Asteroid Families: Search of a 12,487-Asteroid Sample Using Two Different Clustering Techniques". Icarus 116 (2): 291–314. Bibcode:1995Icar..116..291Z. doi:10.1006/icar.1995.1127.
- "Proper elements for 96944 numbered minor planets". AstDys site. Retrieved 2006-05-09.