ASTEROIDS IN GALEX: NEAR-ULTRAVIOLET PHOTOMETRY OF THE MAJOR TAXONOMIC GROUPS

A Waszczak, EO Ofek, SR Kulkarni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We present ultraviolet (UV) photometry (near-UV (NUV) band, 180-280 nm) of 405 asteroids observed serendipitously by GALEX from 2003 to 2012. All asteroids in this sample were detected by GALEX at least twice. Unambiguous visible-color-based taxonomic labels (C type versus S type) exist for 315 of these asteroids; of these, thermal-infrared-based diameters are available for 245. We derive NUV - V color using two independent models to predict the visual magnitude V at each NUV-detection epoch. Both V models produce NUV - V distributions in which the S types are redder than C types with more than 8σ confidence. This confirms that the S types' redder spectral slopes in the visible remain redder than the C types' into the NUV, this redness being consistent with absorption by silica-containing rocks. The GALEX asteroid data confirm earlier results from the International Ultraviolet Explorer, which two decades ago produced the only other sizeable set of UV asteroid photometry. The GALEX-derived NUV - V data also agree with previously published Hubble Space Telescope (HST) UV observations of asteroids 21 Lutetia and 1 Ceres. Both the HST and GALEX data indicate that NUV band is less useful than u band for distinguishing subgroups within the greater population of visible-color-defined C types (notably, M types and G types).

Original languageEnglish
Article number92
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume809
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 10 Aug 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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