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1 April 2006 Potential of color analysis of astrophotographs to group asteroids
Calen Henderson
Author Affiliations +

Asteroids that lie in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter are grouped into asteroid families based upon similar characteristics such as orbit eccentricity and inclination. The purpose of this research is to investigate the possibility of another determining factor for asteroid family classification. It has been shown that objects in space undergo a degree of space weathering due to constant bombardment by particles of interplanetary dust and micrometeorites, resulting in a definite reddening in the optical properties of the surface of the object. An age-color relationship for asteroids has also been proven to exist. Thus, it is hypothesized that, since asteroids of the same family result from the same collision, they have the same age and have been subjected to the same degree of space weathering. The degree of redness of an astrophotograph, as indicated by RGB analysis, should remain relatively constant for asteroids within the same family. To test this hypothesis, a sampling group consisting of three asteroids from each of three of the eight major families was photographed at the Powell Observatory in Louisburg, KS. Image analysis was performed to determine if there is a distinct correlation between the magnitude of the red component of the images and the family designation, as predicted. The numerical results obtained show that, based on the color data obtained, no clear predictor for asteroid family was evident.

Calen Henderson "Potential of color analysis of astrophotographs to group asteroids," Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 109(1), 67-73, (1 April 2006).[67:POCAOA]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 April 2006
RGB color analysis
space weathering
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