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Proposal Information for 2002B-0335


PI: Luke R. Dundon, United States Naval Academy, m031878@usna.edu
Address: P.O. Box 11690, Annapolis, MD 21412, US

CoI: Debora M. Katz, USNA
CoI: Jeffrey Larsen, University of Arizona

Title: Studying the Physical Properties of a Sample of Near-Earth Objects

Abstract: The purpose of this proposal is to survey a small sample of recently discovered Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) in the near-infrared to determine their albedos and search for compositional differences in their light curves. Near-Earth Objects are interesting because their current proximity to the Earth comes from a history of migrations through the Solar System. In addition, the sizes of NEOs are typically poorly determined, mostly because of the fact that asteroids are not 100 percent reflective in the optical wavelengths and it takes a substantial amount of telescope time to determine the albedo (reflectance) of the asteroid. We propose to use SQIID at the 2.1 meter telescope in conjunction with the Spacewatch 1.8 meter telescope to obtain five bandpass (J,H,K,L,optical) lightcurves of a sample of brighter asteroids taken from the MPC confirmation page. For sufficiently bright asteroids, we can determine an albedo through fitting solar reflectance spectra and searching for an excess of emission in the L band and thermal IR from the University of Minnesota telescope on Mount Lemmon. With this many bandpasses in the light curve, we might be able to make definitive statements about the ``patchiness'' of the reflectivity as a function of rotation. Supplemental Johnson B,V, and R photometry will be obtained from the USNA telescope in Annapolis. This data will add to the relatively poorly determined size-albedo relations and allow simultaneous lightcurves of these objects, which we intend to analyze for signs of surface composition variation with rotation.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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