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ExploreNEOs. I. Description and First Results from the Warm Spitzer Near-Earth Object Survey

Trilling, D. E. and Mueller, M. and Hora, J. L. and Harris, A. W. and Bhattacharya, B. and Bottke, W. F. and Chesley, S. and Delbo, M. and Emery, J. P. and Fazio, G. and Mainzer, A. and Penprase, B. and Smith, H. A. (2010) ExploreNEOs. I. Description and First Results from the Warm Spitzer Near-Earth Object Survey. Astronomical Journal, 140 (3). pp. 770-784. ISSN 0004-6256.

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We have begun the ExploreNEOs project in which we observe some 700 Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) at 3.6 and 4.5 μm with the Spitzer Space Telescope in its Warm Spitzer mode. From these measurements and catalog optical photometry we derive albedos and diameters of the observed targets. The overall goal of our ExploreNEOs program is to study the history of near-Earth space by deriving the physical properties of a large number of NEOs. In this paper, we describe both the scientific and technical construction of our ExploreNEOs program. We present our observational, photometric, and thermal modeling techniques. We present results from the first 101 targets observed in this program. We find that the distribution of albedos in this first sample is quite broad, probably indicating a wide range of compositions within the NEO population. Many objects smaller than 1 km have high albedos (≳0.35), but few objects larger than 1 km have high albedos. This result is consistent with the idea that these larger objects are collisionally older, and therefore possess surfaces that are more space weathered and therefore darker, or are not subject to other surface rejuvenating events as frequently as smaller NEOs.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Trilling, D. E.0000-0003-4580-3790
Hora, J. L.0000-0002-5599-4650
Harris, A. W.0000-0001-7431-2013
Chesley, S.0000-0003-3240-6497
Fazio, G.0000-0002-0670-0708
Additional Information:© 2010 American Astronomical Society. Received 2009 December 18; accepted 2010 July 6; published 2010 August 9. We acknowledge the thorough and prompt hard work of the staff at the Spitzer Science Center, without whom the execution of this program would not be possible. We thank Michael Mommert (DLR) for help in checking the modeling results given in the data tables. We thank an anonymous referee for making a number of useful suggestions. This work is based in part on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by JPL/Caltech under a contract with NASA. Support for this work was provided by NASA through an award issued by JPL/Caltech. Facility: Spitzer(IRAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:minor planets, asteroids: general; infrared: planetary systems; surveys
Issue or Number:3
Classification Code:PACS: 96.10.+i; 96.30.Ys
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100830-135219755
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Official Citation:D. E. Trilling et al 2010 The Astronomical Journal 140 770 doi: 10.1088/0004-6256/140/3/770
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:19716
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:03 Sep 2010 21:01
Last Modified:14 Nov 2019 00:41

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