Physical Properties of Near-Earth Objects: Optical and Infrared Astronomical Observations
Trident Scholar Project no. 30
NAVAL ACADEMY ANNAPOLIS MD
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Trident Scholar Project constrained the intrinsic physical properties of a sample of recently discovered NEOs. The sample was carefully chosen based on the NEOs proper motion, magnitude and position. Two weeks in Arizona were spent making thorough optical and infrared ground-based observations on the sample. Four telescopes were used 1 the Kitt Peak National Observatory Observatorys 2.1-meter telescope with the Simultaneous Quad Infrared Imaging Device, 2 the University of Arizona Arizonas 2.3-meter Steward optical observatory, 3 Spacewatch Spacewatchs 1.8-meter optical telescope and 4 the 0.5-meter Super Livermore Optical Transient Imaging System automatic telescope. These instruments were used to measure color photometry in six different bandpasses, and to make optical and infrared lightcurves. The optical and infrared lightcurves were analyzed to determine the rotational properties and rough shape of each object. The taxonomic classification was constrained from threecolor optical photometry, three-color infrared photometry, broadband spectra and albedo. From these taxonomic classifications, a chemical composition was assigned to each object. Four out of the five objects were classified as silicon-iron based NEOs, and one was classified as a potential rare carbonaceous NEO. The determined periods ranged from 2-12 hours, and the shapes ranged from spherical to ellipsoidal.