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Observations of Planet Crossing AsteroidsThe goals of this research were the physical and dynamical characterization of planet crossing asteroids (Earth crossers, Mars crossers, Centaurs, and Pluto crossers, meaning trans-Neptunian objects), including colorimetry, rotational studies, and astrometry. Highlights are listed as follows: 1) Produced one doctoral dissertation (R. J. Whiteley, A Compositional and Dynamical Survey of the Near-Earth Asteroids). A key result is the fraction of Q-type asteroids among the near-Earth population was found to be about one-third; 2) Had prediscovery image showing the binary nature of trans-Neptunian object 1998 WW31, which is the first TNO to have a satellite found in orbit around it; 3) Discovery of shortest known rotation period for any asteroid (2000 D08, rotation period 78 seconds); it is just one of several fast-rotating small asteroids observed during the course of this project; 4) Discovery of a Centaur asteroid (1998 QM107) with, at the time, the smallest known orbital eccentricity among the Centaurs (0.13) and nearly in a 1:1 resonance with Uranus (semimajor axis of 19.9 AU); 5) Discovery of Apollo-type asteroid 1999 OW3, with a surprisingly bright absolute magnitude of 14.6 (estimated diameter of 4.6 km), brightest Apollo found in that calendar year; 6) Discovery of Aten-type asteroid 2000 SG344, which has the highest cumulative Earth impact probability among the near-Earth asteroids and a very Earth-similar orbit; 7) Instrumental in repairing the orbit of a numbered near-Earth asteroid for which prediscovery observations had been mis-attributed to it (2000 VN2); 8) Second-opposition recovery of 30-meter diameter Apollo-type asteroid 1998 KY26 in early 2002 when it was at a favorable magnitude of 24.8; 9) Primary contributor of astrometric observations of the CONTOUR fragments to the CONTOUR project following the failure of the spacecraft s kick motor; and 10) Development of orbit and ephemeris computation code that handles short observational arcs, observations at small solar elongations where indeterminacy is a known problem, and a small number of observations (including just two). Starting in 2000 November, the Spaceguard Central Node began prioritizing near-Earth asteroids in need of astrometric observation. Our own follow-up efforts relied on these listings, with emphasis given to the faintest objects where the combination of a 2.2-m telescope and a site with subarcsecond seeing produces a limiting magnitude close to 25, which represents a unique and valuable capability. The attached table, last updated in August, demonstrates the arc-lengthening capabilities of a faint limiting magnitude. Tabulated are the arc lengths before and after our observation(s), whether our observation is the last one available for the object in question, and the approximate magnitude of the object at the time of the observation.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Contractor or Grantee Report
Tholen, David J.
(Hawaii Univ. Honolulu, HI, United States)
Whiteley, Robert J.
(Hawaii Univ. Honolulu, HI, United States)
Lambert, Joy
(Alfred Univ. NY, United States)
Connelley, Michael
(Hawaii Univ. Honolulu, HI, United States)
Salyk, Colette
(Massachusetts Inst. of Tech. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2002
Subject Category
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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