EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 487, Number 3, September I 2008
Page(s) 1187 - 1193
Section Planets and planetary systems
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20078996
Published online 01 July 2008

A&A 487, 1187-1193 (2008)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20078996

Asteroid 2867 Steins

III. Spitzer Space Telescope observations, size determination, and thermal properties
P. L. Lamy1, L. Jorda1, S. Fornasier2, 3, O. Groussin1, M. A. Barucci2, J. Carvano4, E. Dotto5, M. Fulchignoni2, 3, and I. Toth1, 6

1  Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille, UMR6110 CNRS/Université de Provence, Technopôle de Marseille-Etoile, 38 rue Frédéric Joliot-Curie, 13388 Marseille Cedex 13, France
    e-mail: philippe.lamy@oamp.fr
2  LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, 92195 Meudon Principal Cedex, France
3  Université de Paris 7 Denis Diderot, France
4  Observatorio National de Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
5  INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, via Frascati 33, 00040 Monteporzio Catone (Roma), Italy
6  Konkoly Observatory, PO Box 67, 1525, Hungary

Received 5 November 2007 / Accepted 25 May 2008

Context. Asteroid 2867 Steins is the first target of the Rosetta space mission with a flyby scheduled in September 2008.
Aims. An early characterization is needed to optimize the flyby parameters and the science operations, and to maximize the scientific return.
Methods. We used the infrared spectrograph (IRS) of the Spitzer Space Telescope (SST) to obtain 14 spectra ranging from 5.2 to 38.0 $\mu$m, and to sample the rotational period of the asteroid. The observations were performed on 22 November 2005, when the asteroid was 2.13 AU from the Sun, 1.60 AU from the SST, and at a phase angle of 27.2°. They were interpreted using a standard thermal model incorporating the thermal inertia.
Results. The solution for a spherical shape leads to an effective radius rn = 2.46 $\pm$ 0.20 km and a thermal inertia I = 150 $\pm$ 60 J K-1 m-2 s-1/2, for a beaming factor between 0.8 and 1.0. The geometric albedo is then constrained by visible photometry to pR = 0.31 $\pm$ 0.05 and pV = 0.27 $\pm$ 0.04 when using a linear phase function. The H-G phase law, which includes an opposition effect, leads to larger values of the albedo, pR(H-G) = 0.40 $\pm$ 0.07 and pV(H-G) = 0.34 $\pm$ 0.06. The solution for our 3-dimensional shape model has overall dimensions of 5.73 $\pm$ 0.52 $\times$ 4.95 $\pm$ 0.45 $\times$ 4.58 $\pm$ 0.41 km.

Key words: minor planets, asteroids -- techniques: image processing

© ESO 2008