Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are fragments of remnant primitive bodies that date from the era of solar system formation. At present, the physical properties and origins of NEOs are poorly understood. We have measured thermal emission from three NEOs-(6037) 1988 EG, 1993 GD, and 2005 GL-with Spitzer's IRAC instrument at 3.6, 4.5, 5.8, and 8.0 μm (the last object was detected only at 5.8 and 8.0 μm). The diameters of these three objects are 400, 180, and 160m, respectively, with uncertainties of around 20% (including both observational and systematic errors). For all three the geometric albedos are around 0.30, in agreement with previous results that most NEOs are S-class asteroids. For the two objects detected at 3.6 and 4.5 μm, diameters and albedos based only on those data agree with the values based on modeling the data in all four bands. This agreement, and the high sensitivity of IRAC, shows the promise of the Spitzer Warm Mission for determining the physical parameters for a large number of NEOs.
- Minor planets
- Subject headings: infrared: solar system
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science