Surface Properties of Near-Sun AsteroidsOPEN ACCESS 

Carrie E. Holt, Matthew M. Knight, Michael S. P. Kelley, Quanzhi Ye (叶泉 志), Henry H. Hsieh, Colin Snodgrass, Alan Fitzsimmons, Derek C. Richardson, Jessica M. Sunshine, Nora L. Eisner and Annika Gustaffson

The Planetary Science Journal, Volume 3, Number 8
Published: August 9, 2022


“Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) with small perihelion distances reach subsolar temperatures of ≥1000 K. They are hypothesized to undergo “supercatastrophic” disruption, potentially caused by near-Sun processes such as thermal cracking, spin-up, meteoroid impacts, and subsurface volatile release, all of which are likely to cause surface alteration, which may change the spectral slope of the surface. We attempted to observe 35 of the 53 known near-Sun asteroids with q ≤ 0.15 au from 2017 January to 2020 March to search for trends related to near-Sun processes. We report the optical colors and spectral slopes of 22 objects that we successfully observed and the measured rotation periods for three objects. We find the distribution of colors to be overall bluer than the color distribution of NEAs, though there is a large overlap. We attribute the large scatter to unknown dynamical histories and compositions for individual objects, as well as competing surface altering processes. We also investigated potential correlations between colors and other properties (e.g., perihelion distance, Tisserand parameter, rotation period) and searched for evidence of activity. Finally, we have compiled all known physical and dynamical properties of these objects, including probabilistic source regions and dwell times with q ≤ 0.15 au.”