Absolute Magnitudes of Pan-STARRS PS1 Asteroids

Peter Veres, R. Jedicke, A. Fitzsimmons, L. Denneau, R. Wainscoat, B. Bolin, [No Value] PS1SC Collaboration

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


Absolute magnitude (H) of an asteroid is a fundamental parameter describing the size and the apparent brightness of the body. Because of its surface shape, properties and changing illumination, the brightness changes with the geometry and is described by the phase function governed by the slope parameter (G). Although many years have been spent on detailed observations of individual asteroids to provide H and G, vast majority of minor planets have H based on assumed G and due to the input photometry from multiple sources the errors of these values are unknown. We compute H of ~ 180 000 and G of few thousands asteroids observed with the Pan-STARRS PS1 telescope in well defined photometric systems. The mean photometric error is 0.04 mag. Because on average there are only 7 detections per asteroid in our sample, we employed a Monte Carlo (MC) technique to generate clones simulating all possible rotation periods, amplitudes and colors of detected asteroids. Known asteroid colors were taken from the SDSS database. We used debiased spin and amplitude distributions dependent on size, spectral class distributions of asteroids dependent on semi-major axis and starting values of G from previous works. H and G (G12 respectively) were derived by phase functions by Bowell et al. (1989) and Muinonen et al. (2010). We confirmed that there is a positive systematic offset between H based on PS1 asteroids and Minor Planet Center database up to -0.3 mag peaking at 14. Similar offset was first mentioned in the analysis of SDSS asteroids and was believed to be solved by weighting and normalizing magnitudes by observatory codes. MC shows that there is only a negligible difference between Bowell's and Muinonen's solution of H. However, Muinonen's phase function provides smaller errors on H. We also derived G and G12 for thousands of asteroids. For known spectral classes, slope parameters agree with the previous work in general, however, the standard deviation of G in our sample is twice as larger, most likely due to sparse phase curve sampling. In the near future we plan to complete the H and G determination for all PS1 asteroids (500,000) and publish H and G values online. This work was supported by NASA grant No. NNX12AR65G.
Original languageEnglish
Article number208.22
Pages (from-to)80
Number of pages1
JournalBulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2013


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