In October 2006 we have started a large ( 500 hours) programme at the ESO-VLT Observatory (Cerro Paranal, Chile) to study the surface properties of selected icy bodies in orbit beyond Neptune (TNOs) by carrying out simultaneous visible and near-infrared spectroscopic observations at the highest possible S/N for about 50 objects with various dynamical properties.The aim of this programme is to unambiguously detect and quantify the main icy compounds present on the surface of the selected TNOs and constrain their composition with a high accuracy. In greater details, we: i) search for the spectral signatures of compounds such a H2O, CH4, CH3OH, N2, NH3, CO2, and CO ices; ii) search for the presence of hydrated minerals; iii) attempt to discriminate between the states of crystalline and amorphous H2O ice on their surface; and iv) investigate the presence of organics and silicates on the surface. For a few objects, complementary observations in polarimetry and photometry were also carried out to better investigate the surface characteristics. We will present and discuss the preliminary results from simultaneous spectroscopic observations obtained with the FORS (visible) and ISAAC+SINFONI (near-infrared) instruments during the first period of our 2-year programme.
AAS/Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting Abstracts #39
- Pub Date:
- October 2007