DPS 34th Meeting, October 2002
Session 7. Centaurs and Kuiper Belt Objects I
Oral, Chair(s): M.E. Brown and D.P. Cruikshank, Monday, October 7, 2002, 2:30-3:30 and 4:00-4:30pm, Ballroom

[Previous] | [Session 7] | [Next]

[7.09] Organic Solid Matter as a Coloring Agent in Outer Solar System Bodies

D. P. Cruikshank (NASA Ames Research Center), C. M. Dalle Ore (SETI Institute, NASA Ames), T. L. Roush (NASA Ames Research Center), B. N. Khare (SETI Institute, NASA Ames)

Small bodies in the outer Solar System OSS, exhibit a range of color, or slope of the reflectance in the photovisual spectral region, ranging from neutral to very red, sometimes with and sometimes without distinct absorption bands. These objects range in geometric albedo from 0.03 to 1.0, with the higher albedo objects typically showing clear evidence of water ice. Water ice has also been found in a few objects with albedo 0.1 or less. We explore here the identification of the material or materials that color these icy and non-icy surfaces through scattering models that incorporate minerals, meteoritic material, and organic solids (tholins) produced in the laboratory by energy deposition in ices and gases. These models must match not only the color in the photovisual region, but the spectral reflectance properties throughout the near-infrared. Among some classes of objects, such as Kuiper Belt objects, the coloring agent may be a single material that is present in greater or lesser abundance, thus accounting for the range in color from neutral to very red. This may also apply to the Centaur objects, the jovian Trojans, and the outer-main belt asteroids, each taken as a separate class. If so, each class may be colored to varying degrees by a different material, or they all might be colored by a common material that is widespread throughout the OSS, from 3 to 50 AU, and beyond. In this paper, we model the reflectances of Kuiper Belt objects, Centaurs, Trojans, outer MB asteroids, and planetary satellites. Our models show that the reddest surfaces cannot be colored by minerals or meteoritic materials, but can be matched throughout the photovisual and near-infrared by organic solids, specifically certain tholins.

If the author provided an email address or URL for general inquiries, it is as follows:

[Previous] | [Session 7] | [Next]

Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.