New reflectance spectra of 40 asteroids: A comparison with the previous results and an interpretation

V. V. Busarev

Solar System Research
January 2016, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 13-23
First online: 22 January 2016

(Original Russian Text © V.V. Busarev, 2016, published in Astronomicheskii Vestnik, 2016, Vol. 50, No. 1, pp. 15–26.)

PDF (Russian, open access)

“This paper presents and discusses selected reflectance spectra of 40 Main Belt asteroids. The spectra have been obtained by the author in the Crimean Laboratory of the Sternberg Astronomical Institute (2003–2009). The aim is to search for new spectral features that characterize the composition of the asteroids’ material. The results are compared with earlier findings to reveal substantial irregularities in the distribution of the chemical-mineralogical compositions of the surface material of a number of minor planets (10 Hygiea, 13 Egeria, 14 Irene, 21 Lutetia, 45 Eugenia, 51 Nemausa, 55 Pandora, 64 Angelina, 69 Hesperia, 80 Sappho, 83 Beatrix, 92 Undina, 129 Antigone, 135 Hertha, and 785 Zwetana), which are manifest at different rotation phases. The vast majority of the analyzed high-temperature asteroids demonstrate subtle spectral features of an atypical hydrated and/or carbonaceous chondrite material (in the form of impurities or separate units), which are likely associated with the peculiarities of the formation of these bodies and the subsequent dynamic and impact processes, which lead, inter alia, to the delivery of atypical materials. Studies of 4 Vesta aboard NASA’s Dawn spacecraft have found that asteroids of similar types can form their own phyllosilicate generations provided that their surface material contains buried icy or hydrated fragments of impacting bodies. The first evidence has been obtained of a spectral phase effect (SPE) at small phase angles (≤4°) for 10 Hygiea, 21 Lutetia, and, possibly, 4 Vesta. The SPE manifests itself in an increasing spectral coefficient of brightness in the visible range with decreasing wavelength. This effect is present in the reflectance spectrum of CM2 carbonaceous material at a phase angle of 10° and absent at larger angles (Cloutis et al., 2011a). The shape of Hygeia’s reflectance spectra at low phase angles appears to be controlled by the SPE during the most part of its rotation period, which may indicate a predominantly carbonaceous chondrite composition on a part of the asteroid’s surface. For Vesta, the SPE may manifest itself in the flat or slightly concave shape of the asteorid’s reflectance spectra at some of the rotation phases, which is likely caused by the increased number of dark spots on corresponding parts of its surface.”