Tuesday, July 23, 2013

1307.5774 (J. de Leon et al.)

Additional spectra of asteroid 1996 FG3, backup target of the ESA MarcoPolo-R mission    [PDF]

J. de Leon, V. Lorenzi, V. Ali-Lagoa, J. Licandro, N. Pinilla-Alonso, H. Campins
Near-Earth binary asteroid (175706) 1996 FG3 is the current backup target of the ESA MarcoPolo-R mission, selected for the study phase of ESA M3 missions. It is a primitive (C-type) asteroid that shows significant variation in its visible and near-infrared spectra. Here we present new spectra of 1996 FG3 and we compare our new data with other published spectra, analysing the variation in the spectral slope. The asteroid will not be observable again over the next three years at least. We obtained the spectra using DOLORES and NICS instruments at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG), a 3.6m telescope located at El Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma, Spain. To compare with other published spectra of the asteroid, we computed the spectral slope S', and studied any plausible correlation of this quantity with the phase angle (alpha). In the case of visible spectra, we find a variation in spectral slope of Delta S' = 0.15 +- 0.10 %/10^3 A/degree for 3 < alpha < 18 degrees, in good agreement with the values found in the literature for the phase reddening effect. In the case of the near-infrared, we find a variation in the slope of Delta S' = 0.04 +- 0.08 %/10^3 A/degree for 6 < alpha < 51 degrees. Our computed variation in S' agrees with the only two values found in the literature for the phase reddening in the near-infrared. The variation in the spectral slope of asteroid 1996 FG3 shows a trend with the phase angle at the time of the observations, both in the visible and the near-infrared. It is worth noting that, to fully explain this spectral variability we should take into account other factors, like the position of the secondary component of the binary asteroid 1999 FG3 with respect to the primary, or the spin axis orientation at the time of the observations. More data are necessary for an analysis of this kind.
View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1307.5774

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