Volume 653, September 2021
|Number of page(s)||23|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||17 September 2021|
The surface of (4) Vesta in visible light as seen by Dawn/VIR
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) – Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali (IAPS),
Via Fosso del Cavaliere, 100,
2 Italian Space Agency (ASI), Via del Politecnico, 00133 Rome, Italy
3 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA
4 University of California Los Angeles, Earth Planetary and Space Sciences, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Accepted: 12 August 2021
Aims. We analyzed the surface of Vesta at visible wavelengths, using the data of the Visible and InfraRed mapping spectrometer (VIR) on board the Dawn spacecraft. We mapped the variations of various spectral parameters on the entire surface of the asteroid, and also derived a map of the lithology.
Methods. We took advantage of the recent corrected VIR visible data to map the radiance factor at 550 nm, three color composites, two spectral slopes, and a band area parameter relative to the 930 nm crystal field signature in pyroxene. Using the howardite-eucrite-diogenite meteorites data as a reference, we derived the lithology of Vesta using the variations of the 930 and 506 nm (spin-forbidden) band centers observed in the VIR dataset.
Results. Our spectral parameters highlight a significant spectral diversity at the surface of Vesta. This diversity is mainly evidenced by impact craters and illustrates the heterogeneous subsurface and upper crust of Vesta. Impact craters also participate directly in this spectral diversity by bringing dark exogenous material to an almost entire hemisphere. Our derived lithology agrees with previous results obtained using a combination of infrared and visible data. We therefore demonstrate that it is possible to obtain crucial mineralogical information from visible wavelengths alone. In addition to the 506 nm band, we identified the 550 nm spin-forbidden one. As reported by a laboratory study for synthetic pyroxenes, we also do not observe any shift of the band center of this feature across the surface of Vesta, and thus across different mineralogies, preventing use of the 550 nm spin-forbidden band for the lithology derivation. Finally, the largest previously identified olivine rich-spot shows a peculiar behavior in two color composites but not in the other spectral parameters.
Key words: minor planets, asteroids: individual: (4) Vesta / planets and satellites: surfaces / techniques: imaging spectroscopy / methods: data analysis
© ESO 2021
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