Shape and Rotation Modeling and Thermophysical Analysis of Near-Earth Asteroid (1917) Cuyo

Paul R. Weissman, S. C. Lowry, A. Rozek, S. R. Duddy, B. Rozitis, S. D. Wolters, C. Snodgrass, A. Fitzsimmons, S. Green, M. D. Hicks

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


We are conducting an ESO Large Program that includes optical photometry, thermal-IR observations, and optical-NIR spectroscopy of selected NEAs. Among the principal goals of the program are shape and spin-state modeling, and searching for YORP-induced changes in rotation periods. One of our targets is asteroid (1917) Cuyo, a near-Earth asteroid from the Amor group. We carried out an extensive observing campaign on Cuyo between April 2010 and April 2013, operating primarily at the ESO 3.6m NTT for optical photometry, and the 8.2m VLT at Paranal for thermal-IR imaging. Further optical observations were acquired at the ESO 2.2m telescope, the Palomar 200" Hale telescope (California), JPL’s Table Mountain Observatory (California) and the Faulkes Telescope South (Australia). We obtained optical imaging data for rotational lightcurves throughout this period, as the asteroid passed through a wide range of observational geometries, conducive to producing a good shape model and spin state solution. The preliminary shape and spin state model indicates a nearly spherical shape and a rotation pole at ecliptic longitude λ = 53° ± 20° and latitude β = -37° ± 10° (1-sigma error bars are approximate). The sidereal rotation period was measured to be 2.6899522 ± (3 × 10^-7) hours. Linkage with earlier lightcurve data shows possible evidence of a small change in rotation rate during the period 1989-2013. We applied the NEATM thermal model (Harris A., Icarus 131, 291, 1998) to our VLT thermal-IR measurements (8-19.6 μm), obtained in September and December 2011. The derived effective diameter ranges from 3.4 to 4.2 km, and the geometric albedo is 0.16 (+0.07, -0.04). Using the shape model and thermal fluxes we will perform a detailed thermophysical analysis using the new Advanced Thermophysical Model (Rozitis, B. & Green, S.F., MNRAS 415, 2042, 2011; Rozitis, B. & Green, S.F., MNRAS 423, 367, 2012). This work was performed in part at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a contract with NASA.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2013

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