Context. The study of the surface properties of Centaurs and trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) provides essential information about the early conditions and evolution of the outer Solar System. Due to the faintness of most of these distant and icy bodies, photometry currently constitutes the best technique to survey a statistically significant number of them.
Aims: Our aim is to investigate color properties of a large sample of minor bodies of the outer Solar System, and set their taxonomic classification.
Methods: We carried out visible and near-infrared photometry of Centaurs and TNOs, making use, respectively, of the FORS2 and ISAAC instruments at the Very Large Telescope (European Southern Observatory). Using G-mode analysis, we derived taxonomic classifications according to the Barucci et al. (2005a, AJ, 130, 1291) system.
Results: We report photometric observations of 31 objects, 10 of them have their colors reported for the first time ever. 28 Centaurs and TNOs have been assigned to a taxon.
Conclusions: We combined the entire sample of 38 objects taxonomically classified in the framework of our programme (28 objects from this work; 10 objects from DeMeo et al. 2009a, A&A, 493, 283) with previously classified TNOs and Centaurs, looking for correlations between taxonomy and dynamics. We compared our photometric results to literature data, finding hints of heterogeneity for the surfaces of 4 objects. Based on observations carried out at the European Southern Observatory (ESO), Chile (Programmes 178.C-0036 and 178.C-0867).
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- February 2010
- Kuiper Belt: general;
- techniques: photometric;
- infrared: planetary systems;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- 7 pages, 4 figures. To be published in Astronomy and Astrophysics