Compositional variation on the surface of Centaur 8405 Asbolus


S. D. Kern, D. W. McCarthy, M. W. Buie, R. H. Brown, H. Campins, and M. Rieke. Astrophys. J. 542, L155-L159 (2000) .


Near-infrared 1-2 micron spectra of the Centaur 8405 Asbolus (1995 GO) have been obtained using the Hubble Space Telescope near-infrared camera and multiobject spectrometer. Strong and variable absorption features indicate a significantly inhomogeneous surface characterized by water ice mixed with additional unknown constituents. Over a 1.7 hr interval, the observed spectra varied from a nearly featureless spectrum to a very complicated absorption spectrum, and the integrated flux varied in a manner consistent with previous light-curve observations. The accepted rotation period of 8.9351 hr assumes a shape-dominated light curve. Our observations indicate that the light curve may in fact be dominated by a relatively bright spot with a period of 4.47 hr, i.e., half the previous value. Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555.

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