NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010A-0400

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Proposal Information for 2010A-0400


PI: Linda M. French, Illinois Wesleyan University, lfrench@iwu.edu
Address: Department of Physics, P.O. Box 2900, Bloomington, IL 61702, USA

CoI: Susan Lederer, California State University San Bernardino
CoI: Robert Stephens, Goat Mountain Astronomical Research Station

Title: Phase Curves of Jovian Trojan Asteroids

Abstract: The provenance of the Jovian Trojan asteroids, found at the stable L4 and L5 Lagrange points of Jupiter's orbit, has long been a topic of debate. For decades most researchers believed that they formed in situ, but recent evidence, both theoretical and observational, suggests that the Trojans may have formed at greater heliocentric distances. The observational evidence is based primarily upon the similar spectral properties and albedos of large Trojans to those of cometary nuclei (e.g. Abell et al. 2005). The phase curve--the variation of an asteroid's light with phase angle--carries information about nature and texture of the surface. The two Trojan asteroids whose phase curves have been well studied to data appear to show no strong surge in brightness near zero phase angle, unlike most dark main belt asteroids. We propose to determine phase curves for five additional Trojan asteroids.


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