Volume 466, Number 3, May II 2007
|Page(s)||1185 - 1188|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||24 April 2007|
Properties of the icy surface of the TNO 136108 (2003 EL)*
LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, 92195 Meudon Principal Cedex, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 ESO, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Vitacura Casilla 19001 Santiago 19, Chile e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 6 February 2007
Context.Spectroscopic observations of numerous trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), considered to be among the most pristine objects of the solar system, have revealed the presence of several kinds of surface ices. The high-sensitivity spectra that can be measured for the brightest objects also provide constraints on the physical properties of the surface (e.g. ice phase, temperature).
Aims.We observed one of the largest and brightest TNOs, 136108 (2003 EL61), to determine its surface composition properties and to constrain its surface properties.
Methods.We obtained new visible spectra with EMMI on the ESO-NTT and near-infrared spectra with the new 3D spectrograph SINFONI at the ESO-VLT. Our analysis consists of radiative transfer modelling to constrain composition and surface properties and to identify the precise minimum of the 1.65 micron band to constrain the surface temperature.
Results.The observations reveal a surface essentially composed of water ice. An absorption feature at 1.65 micron clearly indicates the presence of ice in the crystalline phase. Spectral modelling suggests that a small fraction of the surface ice is in the amorphous state. We also derive the temperature of the crystalline ice at the surface.
Key words: Kuiper Belt / radiative transfer
© ESO, 2007
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