EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 432, Number 3, March IV 2005
Page(s) 1081 - 1090
Section Planets and planetary systems
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20042133

A&A 432, 1081-1090 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20042133

Statistical analysis of asteroidal and cometary polarization phase curves

A. Penttilä1, K. Lumme1, E. Hadamcik2 and A.-C. Levasseur-Regourd2

1  Observatory, University of Helsinki, PO Box 14, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
    e-mail: Antti.I.Penttila@helsinki.fi
2  Université Paris VI/Aéronomie CNRS-IPSL, BP 3, 92371 Verrières, France

(Received 7 October 2004 / Accepted 15 November 2004)

We use an empirical polarization phase curve model at various wavelengths to predict some statistical properties of comets and asteroids. First, we show how our model with Bayesian MCMC numerical methods predicts polarization behaviour at larger phase angles when only the smaller angle data are used. Our empirical model incorporates both the phase and colour dependency on the same footing. Second, a comparison between the existing taxonomy of asteroids and the clustering of asteroid classes based on polarization suggests a new method for the classification. We also heavily concentrate on the derivations of quantitative errors in our analysis.

Key words: polarization -- methods: statistical -- techniques: polarimetric -- astronomical data bases: miscellaneous -- comets: general -- minor planets, asteroids

© ESO 2005

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