EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 422, Number 2, August I 2004
Page(s) L39 - L42
Section Letters
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20048003

A&A 422, L39-L42 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20048003


Physical models of large number of asteroids from calibrated photometry sparse in time

M. Kaasalainen

Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Rolf Nevanlinna Institute, University of Helsinki, PO Box 4, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
    e-mail: mjk@rni.helsinki.fi

(Received 28 April 2004 / Accepted 15 June 2004 )

I show that physical asteroid models can be constructed from unprecedentedly small sets of single calibrated photometric measurements sparse in time but well distributed in observing geometries. Sidereal periods, pole directions, and phase behaviour are solved with accuracy sufficient for the statistical analysis of a large collection of targets. Coarse estimates are obtained for the global shapes. This scheme makes it possible to carry out groundbased photometric surveys of thousands of asteroids, typically resulting in models within a few years. It may also be possible to model several asteroids using existing databases. In the future, GAIA photometry will provide another dataset for thousands of asteroids.

Key words: solar system: minor planets, asteroids -- techniques: photometric -- methods: numerical, observational

© ESO 2004