Context. Mars-crossing asteroids (MCs) are a dynamically unstable group between the main belt and the near-Earth populations. Characterising the physical properties of a large sample of MCs can help to understand the original sources of many near-Earth asteroids, some of which may produce meteorites on Earth.
Aims: Our aim is to provide diameters and albedos of MCs with available WISE/NEOWISE data.
Methods: We used the near-Earth asteroid thermal model to find the best-fitting values of equivalent diameter and, whenever possible, the infrared beaming parameter. With the diameter and tabulated asteroid absolute magnitudes we also computed the visible geometric albedos.
Results: We determined the diameters and beaming parameters of 404 objects observed during the fully cryogenic phase of the WISE mission, most of which have not been published elsewhere. We also obtained 1572 diameters from data from the 3-Band and posterior non-cryogenic phases using a default value of beaming parameter. The average beaming parameter is 1.2 ± 0.2 for objects smaller than 10 km, which constitute most of our sample. This is higher than the typical value of 1.0 found for the whole main belt and is possibly related to the fact that WISE is able to observe many more small objects at shorter heliocentric distances, I.e. at higher phase angles. We argue that this is a better default value for modelling Mars-crossing asteroids from the WISE/NEOWISE catalogue and discuss the effects of this choice on the diameter and albedo distributions. We find a double-peaked distribution for the visible geometric albedos, which is expected since this population is compositionally diverse and includes objects in the major spectral complexes. However, the distribution of beaming parameters is homogeneous for both low- and high-albedo objects.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- July 2017
- minor planets;
- asteroids: general;
- infrared: planetary systems;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- 8 pages, 6 figures, accepted for publication in Astronomy &