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The Discovery and Characterization of the First Inner-Venus Asteroid, 2020 AV₂

Presentation #214.02 in the session “Asteroid Dynamics”.

Published onOct 26, 2020
The Discovery and Characterization of the First Inner-Venus Asteroid, 2020 AV₂

Before 2019, out of almost all 1 million known asteroids, less than two dozen were on orbits located within the Earth’s orbit with none being entirely within the orbit of Venus. Here we report the discovery of the first inner-Venus asteroid (IVA), 2020 AV2, was first detected by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) on the Samuel Oschin Telescope (Bellm et al. 2019) on 2020 January 4 (Bolin et al. 2020). Additional data obtained with the Spectral Energy Distribution Machine (SEDM) on the Palomar 60-inch telescope (Blagorodnova et al 2018) on 2020 January 8 and the Kitt Peak Electron Multiplying CCD Demonstrator (KPED) mounted on the Kitt Peak 84-inch telescope (Coughlin et al. 2019) on 2020 January 9 confirmed the orbit with an aphelion distance of ~0.65 au confirming the discovery of the first inner-Venus asteroid. The orbit was further refined by subsequent observations by other facilities by 2020 January 23 resulting in the orbital elements, a = 0.55, e = 0.18, i = 15.88 degrees, Ω = 6.71 degrees, ω = 187.31 degrees and M = 275.35 degrees. In addition, the spectra of 2020 AV2 revealed by Keck telescope observations on 2020 January 23 indicate a reddish surface corresponding to colors of g-r ~ 0.65 and r-i ~ 0.23 mag and an absorption band at ~900 nm resulting in a i-z ~ 0.11 mag. Comparing with the Bus-DeMeo spectroscopic classification shows that the spectra of 2020 AV2 most resembles a S-type spectrum and comparison with the NEO model (Granvik et al. 2018, Morbidelli et al. 2020) indicates an origin from the inner Main Belt where S-type asteroids are most plentiful. Assuming a S-type albedo of ~0.2, this results in an estimated diameter of ~1.5 km. In addition to our determined orbit, we compare our detection of 2020 AV2 to NEO population models and analyze its orbital evolution and history.


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