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Asteroid (3200) Phaethon: Colors, Phase Curve, Limits on Cometary Activity, and Fragmentation

Tabeshian, Maryam and Wiegert, Paul and Ye, Quanzhi and Hui, Man-To and Gao, Xing and Tan, Hanjie (2019) Asteroid (3200) Phaethon: Colors, Phase Curve, Limits on Cometary Activity, and Fragmentation. Astronomical Journal, 158 (1). Art. No. 30. ISSN 1538-3881. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/ab245d.

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We report on a multiobservatory campaign to examine asteroid 3200 Phaethon during its 2017 December close approach to Earth, in order to improve our measurements of its fundamental parameters, and to search for surface variations, cometary activity, and fragmentation. The mean colors of Phaethon are B – V = 0.702 ± 0.004, V – R = 0.309 ± 0.003, and R – I = 0.266 ± 0.004, neutral to slightly blue, consistent with previous classifications of Phaethon as a F-type or B-type asteroid. Variations in Phaethon's B – V colors (but not V – R or R – I) with observer sublatitude are seen and may be associated with craters observed by the Arecibo radar. High-cadence photometry over phases from 20° to 100° allows a fit to the values of the HG photometric parameters; H = 14.57 ± 0.02, 13.63 ± 0.02, 13.28 ± 0.02, 13.07 ± 0.02; G = 0.00 ± 0.01, −0.09 ± 0.01, −0.10 ± 0.01, −0.08 ± 0.01 in the BVRI filters respectively; the negative G values are consistent with other observations of F-type asteroids. Light-curve variations were seen that are also consistent with concavities reported by Arecibo, indicative of large craters on Phaethon's surface whose ejecta may be the source of the Geminid meteoroid stream. A search for gas/dust production sets an upper limit of 0.06 ± 0.02 kg s^(−1) when Phaethon was 1.449 au from the Sun, and 0.2 ± 0.1 kg s^(−1) at 1.067 au. A search for meter-class fragments accompanying Phaethon did not find any whose on-sky motion was not also consistent with background main-belt asteroids.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Tabeshian, Maryam0000-0003-1841-5442
Wiegert, Paul0000-0002-1914-5352
Ye, Quanzhi0000-0002-4838-7676
Hui, Man-To0000-0001-9067-7477
Additional Information:© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2019 March 11; revised 2019 May 17; accepted 2019 May 22; published 2019 June 26. The authors acknowledge the sacred nature of Maunakea and appreciate the opportunity to observe from the mountain. The Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) is operated by the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, the Institut National des Sciences de lUnivers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) of France, and the University of Hawaii. Based on observations obtained at the Gemini Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the NSF on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the National Science Foundation (United States), National Research Council (Canada), CONICYT (Chile), Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva (Argentina), Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação (Brazil), and Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (Republic of Korea). The operation of Xingming Observatory and the NEXT telescope was made possible by the generous support from the Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory and the Ningbo Bureau of Education. This work was supported in part by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC, grant No. RGPIN-2018-05659) and the University of Western Ontario's Science and Engineering Review Board Accelerator program. Q.Z.Y. is supported by a NASA grant to Thomas Prince. M.T.H. is supported by the Dissertation Year Fellowship at UCLA.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Xinjiang Astronomical ObservatoryUNSPECIFIED
Ningbo Bureau of EducationUNSPECIFIED
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)RGPIN-2018-05659
University of Western OntarioUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:comets: general; minor planets, asteroids: general; minor planets, asteroids: individual (3200 Phaethon)
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190625-125513051
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Maryam Tabeshian et al 2019 AJ 158 30
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:96703
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:26 Jun 2019 14:26
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:23

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