|Title:||Pairs of asteroids probably of common origin|
|Author:||David Vokrouhlicky & David Nesvorny|
We report observational evidence for pairs of main-belt asteroids with objects in each pair having nearly identical orbits. The occurrence of ~50-100 identified pairs with such similar orbits cannot be reconciled with random fluctuations of the asteroid orbit density and rather suggests a common origin of the paired objects. We propose that that these pairs are part of compact collisional families or, and perhaps more likely, they formed by YORP-induced spin-up and rotational fission of their parent body and/or splitting of unstable asteroid binaries by BYORP. Given the apparently recent formation of asteroid pairs the identified objects are prime targets for astronomical observations.