Volume 516, June-July 2010
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||09 July 2010|
Thermal properties of asteroid 21 Lutetia from Spitzer Space Telescope observations
Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille, UMR6110 CNRS/Université de Provence,
38 rue Frédéric Joliot-Curie, 13388 Marseille Cedex 13, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, 92195 Meudon Principal Cedex, France
3 Université de Paris 7 Denis Diderot, France
4 Tampere University of Technology, Finland
Accepted: 7 May 2010
Context. Asteroid 21 Lutetia is the second target of the Rosetta space mission with a flyby scheduled in July 2010. To best prepare the observational campaign, Lutetia is being extensively characterized by ground- and space-based astronomical facilities.
Aims. We used the Spitzer Space Telescope (SST) to determine the thermal properties of Lutetia and more generally, to contrain its physical properties and nature.
Methods. The observations were performed with the infrared spectrograph (IRS) of the SST on 10 and 11 December 2005, when the asteroid was 2.81 AU from the Sun, 2.65 AU from the SST and at a phase angle of 21°. We obtained 14 spectra ranging from 5.2 to 38.0 μm, and sampling the rotational period of the asteroid. They were interpreted with a standard thermal model incorporating the thermal inertia.
Results. We obtained the first thermal light curve of Lutetia. Using the most recent solution for its three-dimensional shape and rotational state, as well as independently determined parameters such as the albedo, we satisfactorily reproduced the 14 spectral energy distributions and the complete thermal light curve of Lutetia. The best thermal model has a thermal inertia I ≤ 30 JK-1m-2s-1/2 and a beaming factor in the range ~0.70–0.83. This low thermal inertia is typical of main belt asteroids and implies that the surface of Lutetia is likely covered by a thick regolith layer. Since the beaming factor only reflects the effects of surface rugosity, the above range implies a high degree of roughness. In addition, our results show evidence of inhomogeneities in the surface roughness in the equatorial band of Lutetia.
Key words: minor planets, asteroids: general / minor planets, asteroids: individual: 21 Lutetia / techniques: image processing
© ESO, 2010
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