Science and Exploration

ALMA Observations of Asteroid 3 Juno at 60 Kilometer Resolution

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
March 10, 2015
Filed under , ,
ALMA Observations of Asteroid 3 Juno at 60 Kilometer Resolution
Asteroid 3 Juno at 60 Km Resolution

We present Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) 1.3 mm continuum images of the asteroid 3 Juno obtained with an angular resolution of 0.042 arcseconds (60 km at 1.97 AU).
The data were obtained over a single 4.4 hr interval, which covers 60% of the 7.2 hr rotation period, approximately centered on local transit. A sequence of ten consecutive images reveals continuous changes in the asteroid’s profile and apparent shape, in good agreement with the sky projection of the three-dimensional model of the Database of Asteroid Models from Inversion Techniques. We measure a geometric mean diameter of 259pm4 km, in good agreement with past estimates from a variety of techniques and wavelengths. Due to the viewing angle and inclination of the rotational pole, the southern hemisphere dominates all of the images. The median peak brightness temperature is 215pm13 K, while the median over the whole surface is 197pm15 K.

With the unprecedented resolution of ALMA, we find that the brightness temperature varies across the surface with higher values correlated to the subsolar point and afternoon areas, and lower values beyond the evening terminator. The dominance of the subsolar point is accentuated in the final four images, suggesting a reduction in the thermal inertia of the regolith at the corresponding longitudes, which are possibly correlated to the location of the putative large impact crater. These results demonstrate ALMA’s potential to resolve thermal emission from the surface of main belt asteroids, and to measure accurately their position, geometric shape, rotational period, and soil characteristics.

T. R. Hunter (1), R. Kneissl (2,3), A. Moullet (1), C. L. Brogan (1), E. B. Fomalont (2,1), C. Vlahakis (2,3), Y. Asaki (4,5), D. Barkats (2,3), W. R. F. Dent (2,3), R. Hills (6), A. Hirota (2,4), J. A. Hodge (1), C. M. V. Impellizzeri (2,1), E. Liuzzo (7), R. Lucas (8), N. Marcelino (7), S. Matsushita (9), K. Nakanishi (2,4), L. M. Perez (10), N. Phillips (2,3), A. M. S. Richards (11), I. Toledo (2), R. Aladro (3), D. Broguiere (12), J. R. Cortes (2,1), P. C. Cortes (2,1), V. Dhawan (10), D. Espada (2,4), F. Galarza (2), D. Garcia-Appadoo (2,3), L. Guzman-Ramirez (3), A. S. Hales (2,1), E. M. Humphreys (13), T. Jung (14), S. Kameno (2,4), R. A. Laing (13), S. Leon (2,3), G. Marconi (2,3), B. Nikolic (6), L. -A. Nyman (2,3), M. Radiszcz (2), A. Remijan (2,1), J. A. Rodon (3), T. Sawada (2,4), et al. (26 additional authors not shown) (Submitted on 9 Mar 2015)

Comments: 8 pages, 3 figures, 2 tables, submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters, referee suggestions included in this version

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Cite as: arXiv:1503.02650 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1503.02650v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history From: Catherine Vlahakis [v1] Mon, 9 Mar 2015 19:53:06 GMT (357kb)

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