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Thermal infrared observations of the Hayabusa spacecraft target asteroid 25143 Itokawa

  • Mueller, T. G.
  • Sekiguchi, T.
  • Kaasalainen, M.
Publication Date
Sep 15, 2005
Submission Date
Sep 15, 2005
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20053862
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We obtained N- and Q-band observations of the Apollo-type asteroid 25143 Itokawa during its close Earth approach in July 2004 with TIMMI2 at the ESO 3.6 m telescope. Our photometric measurement, in combination with already published data, allowed us to derive a radiometric effective diameter of 0.32+/-0.03 km and an albedo of 0.19 +0.11/-0.03 through a thermophysical model. This effective diameter corresponds to a slightly asymmetrical and flattened ellipsoid of the approximate size of 520(+/-50) x 270(+/-30) x 230(+/-20) m, based on the Kaasalainen et al. (2005) shape model. Our studies show that the thermal observations lead to size estimates which are about 15% smaller than the radar results (Ostro et al. 2005), slightly outside the stated radar uncertainties of +/-10%. We determined a rather high thermal inertia of 750 Jm-2s-0.5K-1. This is an indication for a bare rock dominated surface, a thick dust regolith can be excluded as well as a metallic surface. From our data we constructed a 10.0 micrometer thermal lightcurve which is nicely matched in amplitude and phase by the shape and spin vector solution in combination with our TPM description. The assumed S-type bulk density in combination with radiometric size lead to a total mass estimate of 4.5 +2.0/-1.8 x 10^10 kg.

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