Taxonomy of asteroid families among the Jupiter Trojans: comparison between spectroscopic data and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey colors
Aims: We present a comparative analysis of the spectral slope and color distributions of Jupiter Trojans, with particular attention to asteroid families. We use a sample of data from the Moving Object Catalog of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, together with spectra obtained from several surveys.
Methods: We extracted a first sample of 349 observations, corresponding to 250 Trojan asteroids, from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and a second sample of 138 spectra, corresponding to 115 Trojans, from the literature. We computed the spectral slopes in the first sample by means of a least-squares fit to a straight line of the fluxes obtained from the Sloan observations, and in the second sample by means of a fit to the rebinned spectra. In both cases the reflectance fluxes/spectra were renormalized to 1 at 6230 Å.
Results: We found that the distribution of spectral slopes among Trojan asteroids shows a bimodality. About 2/3 of the objects have reddish slopes compatible with D-type asteroids, while the remaining bodies show less reddish colors compatible with the P-type and C-type classifications. The members of asteroid families also show a bimodal distribution with a very slight predominance of D-type asteroids, but the background is clearly dominated by the D-types. The L4 and L5 swarms show different distributions of spectral slopes, and bimodality is only observed in L4. These differences can be attributed to the asteroid families since the background asteroids show the same slope distributions in both swarms. The analysis of individual families indicates that the families in L5 are taxonomically homogeneous, but in L4 they show a mixture of taxonomic types. We discuss a few scenarios that might help to interpret these results.