DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 22. Asteroid Physical Studies I
Oral, Chairs: Clark and R.P. Binzel, Thursday, September 4, 2003, 10:30am-12:00noon, DeAnza III

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[22.05] X, E, M, and P-Type Asteroid Spectral Observations

B.E. Clark (Ithaca College), A.S. Rivkin (MIT), S.J. Bus (U. Hawaii), J. Sanders (Ithaca College)

What are the X-types made of? How would knowledge of their composition change our picture of the geological structure of the asteroid regions? X-types are important in the main belt, yet we do not understand their composition or meteorite linkage. This is an outstanding problem in asteroid-meteorite studies, because X-types comprise approximately 20% of the inner main belt (Tholen and Barucci 1989; Bus 1999). We have conducted a program of infrared (0.8-2.5microns) observations aimed at determining mineralogy without albedo information. Because X-types are spectrally like E, M, and P-type asteroids, we observed 18 X-types, 5 E-types, 8 M-types, and 4 P-types. This is the first focused study of XEMP asteroids. In this paper, we present a compositional analysis of the new spectral data.

What we call XEMPs are asteroids identified as ambiguous on the basis of their visible spectral properties only (Zellner et al. 1985; Tholen 1984; Bus and Binzel 2002). By convention (Bowell et al. 1978; Tholen and Barucci 1989), X-types with measured geometric albedos are classified into E, M, or P-types, where E-types (designated ``E" based on their possible link with enstatite meteorites) are high-albedo objects, P-types are low-albedo objects (there are no meteorite analogs for these objects), and M-types (designated ``M" based on their possible link with metallic meteorites) are intermediate. Bus and Binzel (2002) found subtle features in X-class spectra in a high resolution survey.

We have regrouped XEMP spectra for a reanalysis of the extended wavelength coverage now available (0.3-2.5 microns). When continuum slope is removed, we find distinct 0.9 micron bands at the level of 2-5% in many of our XEMP objects. We also find consistent wavelength maxima near 1.5 microns, and hints of 2.0 micron bands in some objects. Our preliminary findings suggest that new mineralogy-based groupings may be called for, breaking down the old albedo-based E, M, and P-type designations.

We gratefully acknowledge funding support from the Research Corporation.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.