Observations of X/M asteroids across multiple wavelengths

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We have conducted a radar-driven observational campaign of main-belt asteroids (MBAs) focused on X/M class asteroids using the Arecibo radar and NASA Infrared Telescope Facilities (IRTF). M-type asteroids have been identified as metallic, enstatite chondrites and/or heavily altered carbonaceous chondrites [Bell, J.F., Davis, D., Hartmann, W.K., Gaffey, M.J., 1989. In: Binzel, R.P., Gehrels, T., Matthews, M.S. (Eds.), Asteroids II. Univ. of Arizona Press, Tucson, pp. 921-948; Gaffey, M.J., McCord, T.B., 1979. In: Gehrels, T., Matthews, M.S. (Eds.), Asteroids. Univ. of Arizona Press, Tucson, pp. 688-723; Vilas, F., 1994. Icarus 111, 456-467]. Radar wavelength observations can determine whether an asteroid is metallic and provide information about the porosity and regolith depth. Near-infrared observations can help determine the grain size, porosity and composition of an object. Concurrent observations with these tools can give us a wealth of information about an object. Our objectives for this observation program were to (a) determine if there are any consistent relationships between spectra in the near-infrared wavelengths and radar signatures and (b) look for rotationally resolved relationships between asteroid radar properties and near-infrared spectral properties. This paper describes preliminary results of an ongoing survey of near-infrared observations of M-type asteroids and is a companion paper to radar observations reported by Shepard [Shepard, M.K., and 19 colleagues, 2008a. Icarus 195, 184-205]. In the analysis of 16 asteroid near-infrared spectra and nine radar measurements, we find a trend indicating a correlation between continuum slope from 1.7 to 2.45 μm and radar albedo-an asteroid with a steep continuum slope also has a bright radar albedo, which suggests a significant metal content. This may provide a means to use near-IR observations to predict the most likely metallic candidates for radar studies. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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