NEOWISE Studies of Asteroids with Sloan Photometry: Preliminary Results

The Astrophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 6.73). 10/2011; 745(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/745/1/7
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We have combined the NEOWISE and Sloan Digital Sky Survey data to study the
albedos of 24,353 asteroids with candidate taxonomic classifications derived
using Sloan photometry. We find a wide range of moderate to high albedos for
candidate S-type asteroids that are analogous to the S-complex defined by
previous spectrophotometrically-based taxonomic systems. The candidate C-type
asteroids, while generally very dark, have a tail of higher albedos that
overlaps the S types. The albedo distribution for asteroids with a
photometrically derived Q classification is extremely similar to those of the S
types. Asteroids with similar colors to (4) Vesta have higher albedos than the
S types, and most have orbital elements similar to known Vesta family members.
Finally, we show that the relative reflectance at 3.4 and 4.6 $\mu$m is higher
for D-type asteroids and suggest that their red visible and near-infrared
spectral slope extends out to these wavelengths. Understanding the relationship
between size, albedo, and taxonomic classification is complicated by the fact
that the objects with classifications were selected from the
visible/near-infrared Sloan Moving Object Catalog, which is biased against
fainter asteroids, including those with lower albedos.

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    ABSTRACT: A principal component analysis shows that 95 percent of the information contained in the seven independent color indices for asteroids is contained in two principal components. Photometric radiometric data sets were used, along with cluster analysis techniques, to produce an improved asteroid taxonomic system. Seven major classes are now recognized and are designated A, C, D, E, M, P, and S. Three interesting minor classes are also identified: B, F, and G. Marginal evidence for an eighth major class, here called T, exists in the data, but the reality of this class awaits confirmation by further observations of potential members. Three asteroids do not fall into any of the above classes and are assigned unique designations R (349 Dembowski), Q (1862 Apollo), and V (4 Vesta).


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