Observations of the trans-Neptunian objects 1993 SC and 1996 TL66 with the Infrared Space Observatory

Nicolas Thomas*, S. Eggers, W. H. Ip, G. Lichtenberg, A. Fitzsimmons, L. Jorda, H. U. Keller, I. P. Williams, G. Hahn, H. Rauer

*Corresponding author for this work

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Observations at 90 μm of the trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), 1993 SC and 1996 TL66, using the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) are reported. Five individual observations of 1993 SC were acquired giving a 2.7 σ detection (a confidence level of 99.6%). The signal level of 11.46 ± 4.24 mJy has been modeled using a standard thermal model (STM) and gives an effective radius of 164+29-33 km and a geometric albedo of 0.022+0.013-0.006. Estimated radii and albedos using the fast rotator approximation and the thermophysical model are also presented. Two individual observations of 1996 TL66 are also reported. A clear signal of 39.77 ± 11.62 mJy at 90 μm was recorded. However, the position of the signal on the detector does not correspond to the position expected. A detailed investigation has not revealed a satisfactory explanation. Assuming that ISO was mispointed and that the origin of the signal is 1996 TL66, application of the STM gives an effective radius of 316+42-49 km and a geometric albedo of 0.030+0.012-0.007. This is in good agreement with expectations based on the assumption that the surfaces of TNOs are similar to those of cometary nuclei. The results for 1996 TL66 and 1993 SC indicate that TNOs are large, spherical, and very dark objects. A main-belt asteroid, 1997 SU15, was also detected giving an effective radius of 1.13 ± 0.04 km and a geometric albedo of 0.25 ± 0.02. An estimate of the relative dependence of the zodiacal light background in the ecliptic on elongation angle at 90 μm was also determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-455
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 1
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2000


  • Infrared: solar system
  • Kuiper belt, oort cloud
  • Techniques: photometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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