Optical colors of 56 near-Earth objects: trends with size and orbit

Alan Fitzsimmons, C.L. Dandy, S.J. Collander-Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


We present the results of BVRIZ photometry of 56 near-Earth objects (NEOs) obtained with the 1-m Jacobus Kapteyn telescope on La Palma during 2000 and 2001. Our sample includes many NEOs with particularly deep 1 - mum pyroxene/olivine absorption bands, similar to Q-type asteroids. We also classify three NEOs with particularly blue colors. No D-type asteroids were found, placing an upper limit of similar to2% on the fraction of the NEO population originating in the outer main belt or the Trojan clouds. The ratio of dark to bright objects in our sample was found to be 0.40, significantly higher than current theoretical predictions. As well as classifying the NEOs, we have investigated color trends with size and orbit. We see a general trend for larger silicate objects to have shallower absorption bands but find no significant difference in the distribution of taxonomic classes at small and large sizes. Our data clearly show that different taxonomic classes tend to occupy different regions of (a, e) space. By comparing our data with current model predictions for NEO dynamical evolution we see that Q- R-, and V-type NEOs tend to have orbits associated with "fast track" delivery from the main belt, whereas S-type NEOs tend to have orbits associated with "slow track" delivery. This outcome would be expected if space weathering occurs on time scales of >10(6) years. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-373
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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