Rotational spectra of (162173) 1999 JU3, the target of the Hayabusa2 mission ⋆
1 Observatório Nacional, COAA, Rua Gal. José Cristino 77, 20921-400 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2 LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, 92195 Meudon Principal Cedex, France
3 JAXA, Sagamihara, 229-8510 Kanagawa, Japan
Received: 25 October 2012
Accepted: 22 November 2012
Context. The Hayabusa2 mission, which will be launched by JAXA in 2014, will return samples from the C-type near-Earth asteroid (162173) 1999 JU3. To better plan the mission, it is important to obtain as many physical characteristics of the asteroid as possible from ground-based observations. Moreover, these can then be calibrated with the in-situ and laboratory studies and be used to better understand other similar objects. Regarding the surface composition of the target asteroid, previous spectroscopic studies in the visible provided conflicting results for the possible presence of a deep absorption band, which is usually related to aqueous alteration processes.
Aims. Our goal is to better understand the surface composition of asteroid (162173) 1999 JU3, and how it relates to the spectral differences observed by diverse authors at different epochs and telescopes. Moreover, to support the JAXA mission planning, we aim to constrain the level of aqueous alteration and thermal activity undergone by the object.
Methods. The adopted methodology was to observe different regions of the surface of the asteroid that rotates around its axis. Spectroscopic observations that cover about 70% of its surface were therefore obtained at the SOAR telescope in Chile on 2012 July 9−10.
Results. Our results indicate that the surface of asteroid (162173) 1999 JU3 presents featureless spectra with very little variation.
Conclusions. No sign of an absorption feature that could be related to aqueous alteration processes is detectable in the observed spectra.
Key words: minor planets, asteroids: individual: (162173) 1999 JU3 / methods: observational / techniques: spectroscopic
© ESO, 2012