DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 6. Kuiper Belt and KBOs I: Extent and Character
Oral, Chairs: D. Jewitt, S. Lederer, Tuesday, November 27, 2001, 2:00-3:20pm, Regency GH

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[6.06] (26308) 1998 SM165: A Large Kuiper Belt Object with an Irregular Shape

W. Romanishin (U. of Oklahoma), S. C. Tegler (Northern Arizona Univ.), T. W. Rettig (U. of Notre Dame), G. Consolmagno (Vatican Obs. Reseach Group), B. Botthof (Northern Arizona Univ.)

We report on optical (BVR) photometry of the Kuiper Belt Object (26308) 1998 SM165, obtained with the Lennon 1.8 m telescope of the Vatican Observatory. The data were obtained over 8 nights in the fall observing seasons of 1999, 2000, and 2001. (26308) shows a lightcurve with a peak to peak amplitude of 0.56 mag, and a rotational period of 7.98 hours, assumimg the brightness variations are due to shape effect. Assuming an ellipsoidal body with a uniform albedo of 0.04, (26308) has dimesions of 600 x 360 x 360 km. This would make (26308) one of the largest significantly non-spherical bodies in the Solar System. Data from 1999 and 2000 show no evidence of color variations with rotational phase. Further data on color vs. phase, based on 2001 data, will be presented.

We thank the NASA Planetary Astronomy Program for funding and the Vatican Observatory Research Group and the University of Notre Dane for access to the 1.8 m telescope on Mt. Graham.

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