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The 3.1 μm NIR feature is not due to surface/subsurface water ice on asteroids

Presentation #114.05 in the session MBAs: Physical Characteristics, Part 1.

Published onOct 20, 2022
The 3.1 μm NIR feature is not due to surface/subsurface water ice on asteroids

Asteroids (24) Themis and (65) Cybele have an absorption feature at 3.1 μm reported in a Nature paper (Campins et al, Nature, 2010; Rivkin & Emery et al, Nature, 2010) to be directly linked to surface water ice. We searched for water vapour, linked to surface water ice, escaping from these asteroids with the Herschel Space Observatory Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared (HIFI). While no H2O line emission was detected, we obtained sensitive 3σ water production rate upper limits of Q(H2O) < 4.1 × 1026 mol. s-1 for Themis and Q(H2O) < 7.6 × 1026 mol. s-1 for Cybele. Using a Thermophysical Model (TPM), we merge data from Subaru/Comics and Herschel/SPIRE with the contents of a multi-observatory database to derive new radiometric properties for these two asteroids. For Themis, we found a thermal inertia Γ = 20+25-10 J m-2 s-1/2 K-1, a diameter 192 +10-7 km and a geometric V-band albedo pV = 0.07 ±0.007. For Cybele we obtained a thermal inertia Γ = 25 +28-19 J m-2 s-1/2 K-1, a diameter 282 ± 9 km, and an albedo pV = 0.042+0.03-0.02. Using all inputs, we estimate that water ice intimately mixed with the asteroids’ dark surface material would cover < 0.0017% for Themis and < 0.0033% for Cybele of their surfaces, while an areal mixture with very clean ice (bond albedo 0.8 for Themis and 0.7 for Cybele) would cover < 2.2% for Themis and < 1.5% for Cybele, of their surfaces (O’Rourke et al, 2020). While surface (& sub-surface) water ice may exist in small localized amounts on both asteroids, there is no doubt that the 3.1 μm NIR feature observed is not due to surface/subsurface water ice on these asteroids.

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