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M. Birlan (Obs. de Paris-Meudon, France), R. Binzel (MIT), S. Bus (Institute for Astronomy), A. Rivkin (MIT), A. Harris (JPL), A. Barucci, M. Fulchignoni (Obs. de Paris-Meudon, France)
Between January and May 2002, four runs of remote observing were performed between the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) and Meudon, France – a distance of 12,000 km and 11 time zones. These runs were essentially devoted to the 0.8-2.5 micron spectroscopic survey of near-Earth asteroids and other targets of opportunity. Complete control of the SpeX instrument and telescope guide camera was maintained at Meudon. All connections were made through the regular internet, including a real-time audio/visual communication link. These runs served to validate the productivity of remote observing and provided insightful experience toward improving the procedures.
The science results within this present paper describe visible and near-infrared spectral properties of two potential spacecraft targets: 4979 Otawara planned for a flyby by Rosetta and 4660 Nereus, one of the most easily accessible near-Earth asteroids. Visible spectral measurements obtained at the Palomar 5-m telescope obtained by one of us (AWH) extend our total wavelength coverage to 0.4 – 2.5 microns for each object. Measurements of the 1- and 2-micron absorption bands within the spectrum of Otawara reveal it to be an S(IV)-type asteroid (Fornasier et al submitted 2002), with an interpreted mineralogy that is consistent with it being a reddened ordinary chondrite. The neutral to slightly red spectral slope of Nereus places it in the X-complex. The visible wavelength spectrum clearly reveals an absorption feature at 0.49 microns, placing Nereus definitively within the Xe class, suggesting an association with the enstatite achondrite meteorites.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.