A Family-based Method of Quantifying NEOWISE Diameter Errors

Joseph R. Masiero, A. K. Mainzer, E. L. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Quantifying the accuracy with which physical properties of asteroids can be determined from thermal modeling is critical to measuring the impact of infrared data on our understanding of asteroids. Previous work has used independently derived diameters (from asteroid radar, occultations, and spacecraft visits) to test the accuracy of the NEOWISE diameter determinations. Here, we present a new and different method for bounding the actual NEOWISE diameter errors in the Main Belt based on our knowledge of the albedos of asteroid families. We show the 1σ relative diameter error for the Main Belt population must be less than 17.5% for the vast majority of objects. For a typical uncertainty on H magnitude of 0.2 mag, the relative error on diameter for the population would be ∼10%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number62
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • asteroids: general
  • minor planets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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