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Explore NEOs. I. Description and first results from the Warm Spitzer Near-Earth Object Survey

Trilling, D. E. and Mueller, M. and Hora, J. L. and Harris, A. W. and Bhattacharya, B. and Bottke, W. F. and Chesley, S. and Delbo, M. and Emery, J. P. and Fazio, G. and Mainzer, A. and Penprase, B. and Smith, H. A. and Spahr, T. B. and Stansberry, J. A. and Thomas, C. A. (2010) Explore NEOs. I. Description and first results from the Warm Spitzer Near-Earth Object Survey. Astronomical Journal, 140 (3). pp. 770-784. ISSN 1538-3881


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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0004-6256/140/3/770


We have begun the ExploreNEOs project in which we observe some 700 Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) at 3.6 and 4.5 mu m with the Spitzer Space Telescope in its Warm Spitzer mode. From these measurements and catalog optical photometry we derive albedos and diameters of the observed targets. The overall goal of our ExploreNEOs program is to study the history of near-Earth space by deriving the physical properties of a large number of NEOs. In this paper, we describe both the scientific and technical construction of our ExploreNEOs program. We present our observational, photometric, and thermal modeling techniques. We present results from the first 101 targets observed in this program. We find that the distribution of albedos in this first sample is quite broad, probably indicating a wide range of compositions within the NEO population. Many objects smaller than 1 km have high albedos (greater than or similar to 0.35), but few objects larger than 1 km have high albedos. This result is consistent with the idea that these larger objects are collisionally older, and therefore possess surfaces that are more space weathered and therefore darker, or are not subject to other surface rejuvenating events as frequently as smaller NEOs.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: © 2010 The American Astronomical Society.
ID number or DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/140/3/770
Keywords: ALBEDO; array camera; asteroid belt; ASTEROIDS; ExploreNEOs; Extraterrestrial geology; infrared: planetary systems; kuiper-belt objects; magnitudes; minor planets, asteroids: general; NEAR-Earth objects; origin; PHOTOMETRY; POPULATION; ra-shalom; space-telescope; space weathering; Spitzer Space Telescope; SURVEYS; thermal infrared spectrophotometry; weathering; yarkovsky
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > Physics and Astronomy
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2015 16:50
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/382

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