Polarimetry of M-type asteroids*
Complejo Astronómico El Leoncito (Casleo) and Universidad Nacional de San Juan, Av. España 1512 sur, J5402DSP, San Juan, Argentina e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 17 November 2006
Aims.Results of a polarimetric program at Complejo Astronómico El Leoncito (Casleo), San Juan, Argentina are presented. The aim of this campaign is to estimate the polarimetric properties of asteroids belonging to the X taxonomic class. In this paper results of the campaign for M-type objects are presented.
Methods.The data have been obtained with Casprof and Torino polarimeters at the telescope. The Casprof polarimeter is a two-hole aperture polarimeter with rapid modulation and the Torino polarimeter is an instrument that allows simultaneous measurement of polarization in the U-, B-, V-, R-, and I-bands.
Results.The campaign began in 2000, and data on a sample of 26 M-type asteroids were obtained. Most of these objects were polarimetricaly observed for the first time. Combining these data with those available in the literature, an estimate of the polarimetric parameters and albedo for 12 objects is presented. Furthermore, the data show that asteroids 21 Lutetia and 77 Frigga have a large inversion angle and 441 Bathilde a deep polarization minimum, implying a controversial taxonomic classification as M-type for these objects. Also, the polarimetric parameters estimated for the M-type asteroids showing in their spectra the band and classified as W-type by Rivkin et al. (1995, Icarus, 117, 90; 2000, ApJ, 145, 351) could be different from those without that feature.
Key words: minor planets, asteroids / techniques: polarimetric
© ESO, 2007