Volume 617, September 2018
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Catalogs and data|
|Published online||17 September 2018|
Asteroid models reconstructed from the Lowell Photometric Database and WISE data⋆
Astronomical Institute, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University, V Holešovičkách 2, 180 00 Prague 8, Czech Republic
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstraße, 85741 Garching, Postfach 1312, Germany
Accepted: 28 June 2018
Context. Information about the spin state of asteroids is important for our understanding of the dynamical processes affecting them. However, spin properties of asteroids are known for only a small fraction of the whole population.
Aims. To enlarge the sample of asteroids with a known rotation state and basic shape properties, we combined sparse-in-time photometry from the Lowell Observatory Database with flux measurements from NASA’s WISE satellite.
Methods. We applied the light curve inversion method to the combined data. The thermal infrared data from WISE were treated as reflected light because the shapes of thermal and visual light curves are similar enough for our purposes. While sparse data cover a wide range of geometries over many years, WISE data typically cover an interval of tens of hours, which is comparable to the typical rotation period of asteroids. The search for best-fitting models was done in the framework of the Asteroids@home distributed computing project.
Results. By processing the data for almost 75 000 asteroids, we derived unique shape models for about 900 of them. Some of them were already available in the DAMIT database and served us as a consistency check of our approach. In total, we derived new models for 662 asteroids, which significantly increased the total number of asteroids for which their rotation state and shape are known. For another 789 asteroids, we were able to determine their sidereal rotation period and estimate the ecliptic latitude of the spin axis direction. We studied the distribution of spins in the asteroid population. Apart from updating the statistics for the dependence of the distribution on asteroid size, we revealed a significant discrepancy between the number of prograde and retrograde rotators for asteroids smaller than about 10 km.
Conclusions. Combining optical photometry with thermal infrared light curves is an efficient approach to obtaining new physical models of asteroids. The amount of asteroid photometry is continuously growing and joint inversion of data from different surveys could lead to thousands of new models in the near future.
Key words: methods: data analysis / techniques: photometric / minor planets, asteroids: general
Tables A.1 and A.2 are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (188.8.131.52) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/617/A57
© ESO 2018
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