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Long Wavelength Thermal Observations of Large Asteroids

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New thermal observations are being made in the mid-infrared and the millimetre wavelengths of Ceres, Pallas, Vesta and other large asteroids. There is evidence for variation in thermophysical properties both between asteriods and on the surface of a single asteroid. Thermal lightcurves are observed as the asteroids rotate and these lightcurves have significant amplitudes that cannot be explained by shape and albedo alone. Repeat observations of the same asteroid are made under different viewing aspects and sub-solar latitudes, and these can infer thermophysical properties of the surface. Results are being used to refine the thermal models applied to asteroids and to begin identifying surface regions with anomalous properties.

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