On June 13, 2006 New Horizons flew within approximately 102,000 km of the small asteroid 2002 JF56. The large angular velocity ( 40 arcsec/sec) of the asteroid relative to New Horizons at closest approach provided a stringent test of the mission's imaging capabilities during flybys. The other solar system objects that New Horizons will encounter on its journey to Pluto, Jupiter, and its satellites, do not have a target motion rate that is nearly as large. The Ralph instrument (Reuter et al., Proc. SPIE Vol. 5906, 2005), which is a visible imager (MVIC) and a near infrared spectrometer (LEISA), had recently opened its aperture door and was able to take advantage of this unique observing opportunity.We observed 2002 JF56 starting 35 hours and 13 hours before closest approach using MVIC's panchromatic framing array. At approximately 8 and 9 hours before closest approach, we observed the asteroid with one of MVIC's panchromatic scanning TDI (time-delay integration) arrays. At one hour, 20 minutes and 8 minutes before closest approach, 4-color (Red, Blue, CH4 and NIR filters) TDI scans were obtained that included the asteroid. The color scans were obtained at phase angles of 49°, 78° and 89° - geometries not available from Earth. Photometric color and imaging results will be presented along with the implications for the size and shape of the asteroid 2002 JF56. This work was funded by the NASA New Horizons Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission.
AAS/Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting Abstracts #38
- Pub Date:
- September 2006