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RADAR OBSERVATIONS OF ASTEROIDS AND COMETS

STEVEN J. OSTRO
Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Vol. 97, No. 596 (October 1985), pp. 877-884
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40678574
Page Count: 8
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RADAR OBSERVATIONS OF ASTEROIDS AND COMETS
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Abstract

Radar observations of asteroids and comets provide information about these objects' sizes, shapes, spin vectors, decimeter-scale morphology, topographic relief, regolith porosity, and metal concentration. On average, small, near-earth asteroids are rougher at decimeter scales than comets or mainbelt asteroids. Asteroid 2 Pallas is smoother than the moon at decimeter scales but much rougher than the moon at some much larger scale(s). There is at least a five-fold variation in the radar albedos of main-belt asteroids, implying substantial variation in these objects' surface porosities or metal concentrations. The highest albedo estimate, for 16 Psyche, is consistent with a metal concentration near unity and lunar porosities. The radar polarization signature of the near-earth object 2101 Adonis is anomalous, resembling that of Jupiter's satellite Callisto more than that of any other radar-detected planetary target. The echo spectra of comet IRAS-Araki-Alcock reveal an irregular, ~7-km sized nucleus and an associated debris swarm, at least 10³ times larger than the nucleus and comprised of particles at least a centimeter in size.

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