Space Weathering within C-Complex Main Belt Asteroid FamiliesOPEN ACCESS 

Cristina A. Thomas, David E. Trilling, Andrew S. Rivkin, Tyler Linder

to be published in the Astronomical Journal


“Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Moving Object Catalog, we study color as a function of size for C-complex families in the Main Asteroid Belt to improve our understanding of space weathering of carbonaceous materials. We find two distinct spectral slope trends: Hygiea-type and Themis-type. The Hygiea-type families exhibit a reduction in spectral slope with increasing object size until a minimum slope value is reached and the trend reverses with increasing slope with increasing object size. The Themis family shows an increase in spectral slope with increasing object size until a maximum slope is reached and the spectral slope begins to decrease slightly or plateaus for the largest objects. Most families studied show the Hygiea-type trend. The processes responsible for these distinct changes in spectral slope affect several different taxonomic classes within the C-complex and appear to act quickly to alter the spectral slopes of the family members. “