Letter to the Editor
E-type asteroid (2867) Steins: flyby target for Rosetta
Institut de Mécanique Céleste et de Calcul des Éphémérides (IMCCE), Observatoire de Paris, 77 avenue Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris Cedex, France e-mail: [Mirel.Birlan]@imcce.fr
2 Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy, 5 Cuţitul de Argint, 040557 Bucharest, Romania e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 LESIA, Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France e-mail: [Antonella.Barucci;Pierre.Vernazza;Marcelo.Fulchignoni]@obspm.fr
4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA 02139, USA e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 27 August 2007
Aims.The mineralogy of the asteroid (2867) Steins was investigated in the framework of a ground-based science campaign dedicated to the future encounter with Rosetta spacecraft.
Methods.Near-infrared (NIR) spectra of the asteroid in the 0.8-2.5 μm spectral range have been obtained with SpeX/IRTF in remote-observing mode from Meudon, France, and Cambridge, MA, in December 2006 and in January and March 2007. A spectrum with a combined wavelength coverage from 0.4 to 2.5 μm was constructed using previously obtained visible data. To constrain the possible composition of the surface, we constructed a simple mixing model using a linear (areal) mix of three components obtained from the RELAB database. A space-weathering model was applied to the aubrite ALH-78113 spectrum.
Results.The four new NIR spectra reveal no major absorption features. The best-fit model for the constructed visible-plus-NIR spectrum is represented by a mixture of 57% enstatite, 42% oldhamite, and 1% orthopyroxene. These results place Steins in a subdivision of the E-type class with objects like Angelina, Eger, and Nereus. This group is not sampled by the current collection of aubrite meteorites. Interestingly, the reddened aubrite spectrum also provides a good match to the Steins VNIR spectrum.
Key words: minor planets, asteroids / techniques: spectroscopic / methods: observational
© ESO, 2007