EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 415, Number 2, February IV 2004
Page(s) L21 - L25
Section Letters
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20040005

A&A 415, L21-L25 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20040005


Surface characterization of 28978 Ixion (2001 KX $\mathsf{_{76}}$)

H. Boehnhardt1, S. Bagnulo2, K. Muinonen3, M. A. Barucci4, L. Kolokolova5, E. Dotto6 and G. P. Tozzi7

1  Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
2  European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Santiago de Chile
3  Observatory, PO Box 14, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
4  Observatoire Paris-Meudon, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France
5  Department of Astronomy, 211 SSRB, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-2055, USA
6  INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, via Frascati 33, 00040 Monteporzio Catone, Italy
7  INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy

(Received 21 November 2003 / Accepted 7 January 2004)

The Plutino 28978 Ixion, one of the largest objects in the Kuiper Belt, is measured by  R filter photometry and linear polarimetry over the phase angle range as well as by BVRI colours and visible spectroscopy. Ixion is a medium red object with spectral slope of 17.7%/100 nm (400-900 nm). While its opposition phase curve surge (0.2 mag/deg) is within the typical range found for other solar system objects, it displays unusually high negative polarization (min. -1.3%). Comparison with model spectra and numerical modeling of the opposition brightening and polarization effects suggest an areal mixture of absorbing (dark) and icy (bright) compounds on its surface: the mixing ratio is about 6:1 for dark and bright material of 0.21 and 0.79 single-scattering albedo and of 250 and 33 dimensionless mean free path (length multiplied by wave number), respectively.

Key words: transneptunian object -- 28978 Ixion: 2001 KX 76 -- surface properties

Offprint request: H. Boehnhardt, hboehnha@mpia-hd.mpg.de

© ESO 2004