AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 45. The Solar System
Poster, Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[45.05] Observations of Near Earth Asteroid 2002-NY40 and Other Solar System Targets from the AMOS Observatory

J. Lambert, D. Hall, L. C. Roberts, Jr., K. Hamada, B. Africano, A. Alday, J. Barros, B. Law, P. Sydney, J. Africano (Boeing), P. Kervin (AFRL)

The Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing (AMOS) observatory conducted coordinated observations of asteroid 2002-NY40 during the August~2002 close-Earth encounter, including adaptive optics (AO) compensated imagery from the 3.6\,m Advanced Electro-Optical System (AEOS) telescope, spectroscopy from the Spica spectrograph mounted on the AMOS 1.6\,m telescope, and photometry from the Contrast Mode Photometer mounted on the AMOS 1.2\,m telescope. These observations were obtained within ±\,36\,hours of closest-approach, and the 0.36\,m Raven telescope located at the Maui Remote Experiment site also acquired photometric observations spanning approximately 2~weeks. AO images acquired at closest approach indicate that the asteroid had a variable asymmetric figure, suggestive of rotation. Deconvolution of the AO images continues in order to enhance the spatial resolution and further refine the asteroid's shape. Photometric variations also suggest rotational modulation, and work is underway to derive the object's shape, rotation rate and pole orientation from the combined data set. The asteroid's measured reflectance spectrum is consistent with spectra of S-type asteroids.

In addition to near-Earth asteroid 2002-NY40, the AMOS observatory continues to observe other solar system targets, including main belt asteroids, planets and planetary satellites. For instance, the AEOS telescope recently acquired AO images of the asteroids Ceres and Melpomene. AEOS also acquired I-band photometric observations of Pluto's 2002 Aug.~16 occultation of the star P131.1. These data, combined with observations of the occultation from several other observatories, are currently being analyzed by a team led by Jim Elliot of MIT to derive the parameters of Pluto's tenuous and dynamic atmosphere.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: john.v.lambert@boeing.com

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