ExploreNEOs. V. Average albedo by taxonomic complex in the near-earth asteroid population

C. A. Thomas, David E Trilling, J. P. Emery, M. Mueller, J. L. Hora, L. A M Benner, B. Bhattacharya, W. F. Bottke, S. Chesley, M. Delbó, G. Fazio, A. W. Harris, A. Mainzer, M. Mommert, A. Morbidelli, B. Penprase, H. A. Smith, T. B. Spahr, J. A. Stansberry

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49 Scopus citations


Examining the albedo distribution of the near-Earth object (NEO) population allows for a better understanding of the relationship between absolute (H) magnitude and size, which impacts calculations of the size frequency distribution and impact hazards. Examining NEO albedos also sheds light on the differences between the NEO and Main Belt populations. We combine albedo results from the ExploreNEOs Warm Spitzer Exploration Science program with taxonomic classifications from the literature, publicly available data sets, and new observations from our concurrent spectral survey to derive the average albedos for C-, D-, Q-, S-, V-, and X-complex NEOs. Using a sample size of 118 NEOs, we calculate average albedos of 0.29+0.05 -0.04, 0.26 +0.04 -0.03, and 0.42+0.13 -0.11 for the Q-, S-, and V-complexes, respectively. The averages for the C- and D-complexes are 0.13+0.06 -0.05 and 0.02+0.02 -0.01, but these averages are based on a small number of objects (five and two, respectively) and will improve with additional observations. We use albedos to assign X-complex asteroids to one of the E-, M-, or P-types. Our results demonstrate that the average albedos for the C-, S-, V-, and X-complexes are higher for NEOs than the corresponding averages observed in the Main Belt.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number85
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011



  • minor planets, asteroids: general
  • surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Thomas, C. A., Trilling, D. E., Emery, J. P., Mueller, M., Hora, J. L., Benner, L. A. M., Bhattacharya, B., Bottke, W. F., Chesley, S., Delbó, M., Fazio, G., Harris, A. W., Mainzer, A., Mommert, M., Morbidelli, A., Penprase, B., Smith, H. A., Spahr, T. B., & Stansberry, J. A. (2011). ExploreNEOs. V. Average albedo by taxonomic complex in the near-earth asteroid population. Astronomical Journal, 142(3), [85]. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-6256/142/3/85