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Volumes and bulk densities of forty asteroids from ADAM shape modeling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Article numberA114
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Context. Disk-integrated photometric data of asteroids do not contain accurate information on shape details or size scale. Additional data such as disk-resolved images or stellar occultation measurements further constrain asteroid shapes and allow size estimates. Aims. We aim to use all the available disk-resolved images of approximately forty asteroids obtained by the Near-InfraRed Camera (Nirc2) mounted on the W.M. Keck II telescope together with the disk-integrated photometry and stellar occultation measurements to determine their volumes. We can then use the volume, in combination with the known mass, to derive the bulk density. Methods. We downloaded and processed all the asteroid disk-resolved images obtained by the Nirc2 that are available in the Keck Observatory Archive (KOA). We combined optical disk-integrated data and stellar occultation profiles with the disk-resolved images and use the All-Data Asteroid Modeling (ADAM) algorithm for the shape and size modeling. Our approach provides constraints on the expected uncertainty in the volume and size as well. Results. We present shape models and volume for 41 asteroids. For 35 of these asteroids, the knowledge of their mass estimates from the literature allowed us to derive their bulk densities. We see a clear trend of lower bulk densities for primitive objects (C-complex) and higher bulk densities for S-complex asteroids. The range of densities in the X-complex is large, suggesting various compositions. We also identified a few objects with rather peculiar bulk densities, which is likely a hint of their poor mass estimates. Asteroid masses determined from the Gaia astrometric observations should further refine most of the density estimates.


  • Methods: Numerical, Methods: Observational, Minor planets, asteroids: General, Techniques: Photometric

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