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Proposal Information for 2013B-0535


PI: William J. Merline, Southwest Research Institute, merline@boulder.swri.edu
Address: Space Science and Instrumentation Division, 1050 Walnut St., Ste. 300, Boulder, CO 80302, USA

CoI: Peter M. Tamblyn, Southwest Research Institute
CoI: Benoit Carry, Institut de Mecanique Celeste, Paris
CoI: Jack Drummond, AFRL, Starfire Optical Range
CoI: Al Conrad, Max Planck Institute, Germany
CoI: Steve B. Howell, NASA Ames Research Center
CoI: Julian Christou, Large Binocular Telescope Observatory
CoI: Clark R. Chapman, Southwest Research Institute
CoI: Christophe Dumas, European Southern Observatory, Chile

Title: High-Resolution Imaging of Asteroids/Satellites

Abstract: We propose to make high-resolution observations of asteroids using two separate observational paths. We request LGS AO on Keck, as part of our ongoing program to measure size, 3D shape, and pole position, and to search for satellites. Second, we wish to make use of the new capability for speckle imaging on Gemini-N. We have demonstrated that AO imaging allows determination of the pole/dimensions in 1 or 2 nights, rather than the years of observations with lightcurve inversion techniques that only yield poles and axial ratios, not true dimensions. Detection of new satellites allows an accurate mass determination. Accurately determining the volume from the often-irregular shape allows us to derive densities to greater precision in cases where the mass is known. Satellites also provide a real-life lab for testing collisional models. We have demonstrated the tremendous fidelity of our shape/sizes of asteroids, and have pioneered asteroid satellite detection. The new DSSI instrument provides a potentially game-changing opportunity by pushing diffraction-limited imaging into the visible region, where the resolution will be roughly twice what we can get at Keck in the NIR. We will apply both techniques to determination of sizes of asteroids and search for binaries, particularly among understudied populations such as the NEOs and Trojans.


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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