Status Report

Resolved Photometry of Vesta Reveals Physical Properties of Crater Regolith

By SpaceRef Editor
February 2, 2017
Filed under ,

S.E. Schröder, S. Mottola, H.U. Keller, C.A. Raymond, C.T. Russell
(Submitted on 1 Feb 2017)

During its year-long orbital mission, the Dawn spacecraft has mapped the surface of main-belt asteroid Vesta multiple times at different spatial resolutions and illumination and viewing angles. The onboard Framing Camera has acquired thousands of clear filter and narrow band images, which, with the availability of high-resolution global shape models, allows for a photometric characterization of the surface in unprecedented detail. We analyze clear filter images to retrieve the photometric properties of the regolith. In the first part of the paper we evaluate different photometric models for the global average. In the second part we use these results to study variations in albedo and steepness of the phase curve over the surface. Maps of these two photometric parameters show large scale albedo variations, which appear to be associated with compositional differences. They also reveal the location of photometrically extreme terrains, where the phase curve is unusually shallow or steep. We find that shallow phase curves are associated with steep slopes on crater walls and faults, as calculated from a shape model. On the other hand, the phase curve of ejecta associated with young impact craters is steep. We interpret these variations in phase curve slope in terms of physical roughness of the regolith. The lack of rough ejecta around older craters suggests that initially rough ejecta associated with impact craters on Vesta are smoothed over a relatively short time of several tens of Myr. We propose that this process is the result of impact gardening, and as such represents a previously unrecognized aspect of Vesta space weathering (Pieters et al., 2012). If this type of space weathering is common, we may expect to encounter this photometric phenomenon on other main belt asteroids.

Comments:    30 pages, 16 figures
Subjects:    Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Journal reference:    Planetary and Space Science Volume 103, 15 November 2014, Pages 66-81
DOI:    10.1016/j.pss.2014.08.001
Cite as:    arXiv:1702.00207 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1702.00207v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Stefan Schröder 
[v1] Wed, 1 Feb 2017 11:01:15 GMT (13109kb,D)

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