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ExploreNEOs. II. The Accuracy of the Warm Spitzer Near-Earth Object Survey

Harris, A. W. and Mommert, M. and Hora, J. L. and Mueller, M. and Trilling, D. E. 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. and Spahr, T. B. and Stansberry, J. A. and Thomas, C. A. (2011) ExploreNEOs. II. The Accuracy of the Warm Spitzer Near-Earth Object Survey. Astronomical Journal, 141 (3). Art. No. 75. ISSN 0004-6256.

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We report on results of observations of near-Earth objects (NEOs) performed with the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope as part of our ongoing (2009-2011) Warm Spitzer NEO survey ("ExploreNEOs"), the primary aim of which is to provide sizes and albedos of some 700 NEOs. The emphasis of the work described here is an assessment of the overall accuracy of our survey results, which are based on a semi-empirical generalized model of asteroid thermal emission. The NASA Spitzer Space Telescope has been operated in the so-called Warm Spitzer mission phase since the cryogen was depleted in 2009 May, with the two shortest-wavelength channels, centered at 3.6 μm and 4.5 μm, of the Infrared Array Camera continuing to provide valuable data. The set of some 170 NEOs in our current Warm Spitzer results catalog contains 28 for which published taxonomic classifications are available, and 14 for which relatively reliable published diameters and albedos are available. A comparison of the Warm Spitzer results with previously published results ("ground truth"), complemented by a Monte Carlo error analysis, indicates that the rms Warm Spitzer diameter and albedo errors are ±20% and ±50%, respectively. Cases in which agreement with results from the literature is worse than expected are highlighted and discussed; these include the potential spacecraft target 138911 2001 AE_2. We confirm that 1.4 appears to be an appropriate overall default value for the relative reflectance between the V band and the Warm Spitzer wavelengths, for use in correction of the Warm Spitzer fluxes for reflected solar radiation.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Harris, A. W.0000-0001-7431-2013
Mommert, M.0000-0002-8132-778X
Hora, J. L.0000-0002-5599-4650
Trilling, D. E.0000-0003-4580-3790
Chesley, S.0000-0003-3240-6497
Fazio, G.0000-0002-0670-0708
Additional Information:© 2011 American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 July 5; accepted 2010 November 29; published 2011 February 1. This work is based on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA. Liberal use was made of the excellent JPL Horizons System for generating ephemerides. We acknowledge support by DFG through SPP 1385: The first ten million years of the solar system—a planetary materials approach. We thank the anonymous referee for comments that led to significant improvements in the paper.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)SPP 1385
Subject Keywords:infrared: planetary systems; minor planets, asteroids: general; surveys
Issue or Number:3
Classification Code:PACS: 96.30.Ys; 95.85.Hp
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110314-113049616
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:A. W. Harris et al. 2011 The Astronomical Journal 141 75 doi: 10.1088/0004-6256/141/3/75
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:22857
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:15 Mar 2011 14:43
Last Modified:14 Nov 2019 00:41

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