DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 41. Asteroids Posters
Displayed, 9:00am Tuesday - 3:00pm Saturday, Highlighted, Friday, November 30, 2001, 9:00-10:30am, French Market Exhibit Hall

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[41.23] MSX Images and Photometry of Small Solar System Objects

S.D. Price (AFRL/VSB), M.P. Egan (AFRL/VSS), R. Walker (VRI), P. Noah (MRC), E.F. Tedesco (Terrasystems), S.J. Carey, D. Mizuno, T.A. Kuchar (BC), T Murdock (FTI), E Barker, S Jayaraman (VRI)

The Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) made astronomical observations over a wide spectral range, from the ultraviolet to the mid-infrared. The infrared instrument observed in five spectral bands between 4 and 25 \mum. A suite of nine small optical sensors provided images and spectra from the ultraviolet to the far red on the same fields observed by the infrared telescope and were used to conduct a small comet survey after the cryogen ran out. The MSX data products on the infrared inertial background are available through http://irsa.ipac.caltech.edu.

MSX observations provide unique information on the properties of the small bodies in the solar system. MSX dedicated 12 experiments to infrared observations on eight active comets and four “dead” comet nuclei, or transition objects. During the inertial survey scans, 27 serendipitous observations of 10 relatively bright periodic comets (within ~3 AU of the Sun) and 51 scans of 18 faint comets (beyond ~3 AU from the Sun) were obtained. The composition, size, and configuration of the cometary dust provide clues to the role that this dust plays in the formation and replenishment of the zodiacal cloud. About 375 main belt asteroids were similarly observed as well as 60 ecliptic latitude profiles of the zodiacal emission were between sun centered longitudes of 25° and 177°. The MSX measurements of the total lunar eclipse of 26 Sept. 1996 provide disk resolved (30 - 40 km) brightness temperature maps every four minutes during the experiment (~80 minutes among three observations). Accurate cooling rates and, therefore, information on the disk resolved thermal inertia of the lunar surface can be derived. There is nothing comparable in the literature to the spatial resolution and sensitivity in brightness temperature of the MSX measurements. We present a sampling of the infrared measurements for each type of MSX observation.

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