A radar survey of M- and X-class asteroids

Michael K. Shepard, Beth Ellen Clark, Michael C. Nolan, Ellen S. Howell, Christopher Magri, Jon D. Giorgini, Lance A.M. Benner, Steven J. Ostro, Alan W. Harris, Brian Warner, Donald Pray, Petr Pravec, Michael Fauerbach, Thomas Bennett, Alain Klotz, Raoul Behrend, Horacio Correia, Josep Coloma, Silvano Casulli, Andrew Rivkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


We observed ten M- and X-class main-belt asteroids with the Arecibo Observatory's S-band (12.6 cm) radar. The X-class asteroids were targeted based on their albedos or other properties which suggested they might be M-class. This work brings the total number of main-belt M-class asteroids observed with radar to 14. We find that three of these asteroids have rotation rates significantly different from what was previously reported. Based on their high radar albedo, we find that only four of the fourteen-16 Psyche, 216 Kleopatra, 758 Mancunia, and 785 Zwetana-are almost certainly metallic. 129 Antigone has a moderately high radar albedo and we suggest it may be a CH/CB/Bencubbinite parent body. Three other asteroids, 97 Klotho, 224 Oceana, and 796 Sarita have radar albedos significantly higher than the average main belt asteroid and we cannot rule out a significant metal content for them. Five of our target asteroids, 16 Psyche, 129 Antigone, 135 Hertha, 758 Mancunia, and 785 Zwetana, show variations in their radar albedo with rotation. We can rule out shape and composition in most cases, leaving variations in thickness, porosity, or surface roughness of the regolith to be the most likely causes. With the exception of 129 Antigone, we find no hydrated M-class asteroids (W-class; Rivkin, A.S., Howell, E.S., Lebofsky, L.A., Clark, B.E., Britt, D.T., 2000. Icarus 145, 351-368) to have high radar albedos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-205
Number of pages22
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Asteroids
  • Surfaces
  • asteroids
  • composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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