“TNOs are Cool”: A survey of the trans-Neptunian region
IX. Thermal properties of Kuiper belt objects and Centaurs from combined Herschel and Spitzer observations⋆,⋆⋆
LESIA-Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, UPMC Univ. Paris 6, Univ. Paris-Diderot,
5 Place J.
2 Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC), Glorieta de la Astronomía s/n, 18008 Granada, Spain
3 Queen’s University, University Rd, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK
4 Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institute of Planetary Research, Rutherfordstrasse 2, 12489 Berlin, Germany
5 Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik (MPE), Postfach 1312, Giessenbachstr., 85741 Garching, Germany
6 Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore MD 21218, USA
7 Konkoly Observatory, Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Konkoly Thege 15-17, 1121 Budapest, Hungary
8 SRON, Postbus 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
9 Center for Astrophysics of the University of Coimbra, Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory, Almas de Freire, 3040-004 Coimbra, Portugal
10 Unidad de Astronomía, Universidad de Antofagasta, Avenida Angamos 601, Antofagasta, Chile
11 Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, LAM (Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille) UMR 7326, 13388 Marseille, France
Accepted: 12 July 2013
Aims. The goal of this work is to characterize the ensemble thermal properties of the Centaurs / trans-Neptunian population.
Methods. Thermal flux measurements obtained with Herschel/PACS and Spitzer/MIPS provide size, albedo, and beaming factors for 85 objects (13 of which are presented here for the first time) by means of standard radiometric techniques. The measured beaming factors are influenced by the combination of surface roughness and thermal inertia effects. They are interpreted within a thermophysical model to constrain, in a statistical sense, the thermal inertia in the population and to study its dependence on several parameters. We use in particular a Monte-Carlo modeling approach to the data whereby synthetic datasets of beaming factors are created using random distributions of spin orientation and surface roughness.
Results. Beaming factors η range from values <1 to ~2.5, but high η values (>2) are lacking at low heliocentric distances (rh < 30 AU). Beaming factors lower than 1 occur frequently (39% of the objects), indicating that surface roughness effects are important. We determine a mean thermal inertia for Centaurs/ TNO of Γ = (2.5 ± 0.5) J m-2 s−1/2 K-1, with evidence of a trend toward decreasing Γ with increasing heliocentric (by a factor ~2.5 from 8–25 AU to 41–53 AU). These thermal inertias are 2–3 orders of magnitude lower than expected for compact ices, and generally lower than on Saturn’s satellites or in the Pluto/Charon system. Most high-albedo objects are found to have unusually low thermal inertias. Our results suggest highly porous surfaces, in which the heat transfer is affected by radiative conductivity within pores and increases with depth in the subsurface.
Key words: Kuiper belt: general / planetary systems / planets and satellites: surfaces / methods: observational / techniques: photometric
Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European–led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA.
Table 3 is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2013