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Photometry of Kuiper belt object (486958) Arrokoth from New Horizons LORRI

Hofgartner, Jason D. and Buratti, Bonnie J. and Benecchi, Susan D. and Beyer, Ross A. and Cheng, Andrew and Keane, James T. and Lauer, Tod R. and Olkin, Catherine B. and Parker, Joel W. and Singer, Kelsi N. and Spencer, John R. and Stern, S. Alan and Verbiscer, Anne J. and Weaver, Harold A. (2021) Photometry of Kuiper belt object (486958) Arrokoth from New Horizons LORRI. Icarus, 356 . Art. No. 113723. ISSN 0019-1035.

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On January 1st 2019, the New Horizons spacecraft flew by the classical Kuiper belt object (486958) Arrokoth (provisionally designated 2014 MU69), possibly the most primitive object ever explored by a spacecraft. The I/F of Arrokoth is analyzed and fit with a photometric function that is a linear combination of the Lommel-Seeliger (lunar) and Lambert photometric functions. Arrokoth has a geometric albedo of p_v = 0.21_(−0.04)^(+0.05) at a wavelength of 550 nm and ≈0.24 at 610 nm. Arrokoth's geometric albedo is greater than the median but consistent with a distribution of cold classical Kuiper belt objects whose geometric albedos were determined by fitting a thermal model to radiometric observations. Thus, Arrokoth's geometric albedo adds to the orbital and spectral evidence that it is a cold classical Kuiper belt object. Maps of the normal reflectance and hemispherical albedo of Arrokoth are presented. The normal reflectance of Arrokoth's surface varies with location, ranging from ≈0.10–0.40 at 610 nm with an approximately Gaussian distribution. Both Arrokoth's extrema dark and extrema bright surfaces are correlated to topographic depressions. Arrokoth has a bilobate shape and the two lobes have similar normal reflectance distributions: both are approximately Gaussian, peak at ≈0.25 at 610 nm, and range from ≈0.10–0.40, which is consistent with co-formation and co-evolution of the two lobes. The hemispherical albedo of Arrokoth varies substantially with both incidence angle and location, the average hemispherical albedo at 610 nm is 0.063 ± 0.015. The Bond albedo of Arrokoth at 610 nm is 0.062 ± 0.015.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Hofgartner, Jason D.0000-0002-6517-3864
Buratti, Bonnie J.0000-0002-5901-4875
Benecchi, Susan D.0000-0001-8821-5927
Beyer, Ross A.0000-0003-4503-3335
Keane, James T.0000-0002-4803-5793
Lauer, Tod R.0000-0003-3234-7247
Olkin, Catherine B.0000-0002-5846-716X
Parker, Joel W.0000-0002-3672-0603
Singer, Kelsi N.0000-0003-3045-8445
Weaver, Harold A.0000-0003-0951-7762
Additional Information:© 2020 Published by Elsevier Inc. Received 8 November 2019, Revised 15 February 2020, Accepted 25 February 2020, Available online 2 March 2020. We are sincerely grateful to the entire New Horizons team for enabling this research. We thank the NASA New Horizons project for financial support. J.D.H. gratefully acknowledges financial support from the NASA Postdoctoral Program. This research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We thank Stefano Mottola, an anonymous referee, and editor Will Grundy for their service and helpful comments.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Postdoctoral ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Kuiper belt; Trans-Neptunian objects; (486958) Arrokoth; 2014 MU69; Albedo and photometry
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200302-144517962
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Official Citation:Jason D. Hofgartner, Bonnie J. Buratti, Susan D. Benecchi, Ross A. Beyer, Andrew Cheng, James T. Keane, Tod R. Lauer, Catherine B. Olkin, Joel W. Parker, Kelsi N. Singer, John R. Spencer, S. Alan Stern, Anne J. Verbiscer, Harold A. Weaver, Photometry of Kuiper belt object (486958) Arrokoth from New Horizons LORRI, Icarus, Volume 356, 2021, 113723, ISSN 0019-1035, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101663
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:02 Mar 2020 23:21
Last Modified:08 Jan 2021 21:24

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