A revised asteroid polarization-albedo relationship using wise/neowise data

Joseph R. Masiero, A. K. Mainzer, T. Grav, J. M. Bauer, E. L. Wright, R. S. McMillan, D. J. Tholen, A. W. Blain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We present a reanalysis of the relationship between asteroid albedo and polarization properties using the albedos derived from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. We find that the function that best describes this relation is a three-dimensional linear fit in the space of log (albedo)-log (polarization slope)-log (minimum polarization). When projected to two dimensions, the parameters of the fit are consistent with those found in previous work. We also define p * as the quantity of maximal polarization variation when compared with the albedo and present the best-fitting albedo-p * relation. Some asteroid taxonomic types stand out in this three-dimensional space, notably the E, B, and M Tholen types, while others cluster in clumps coincident with the S- and C-complex bodies. We note that both low albedo and small (D < 30km) asteroids are underrepresented in the polarimetric sample, and we encourage future polarimetric surveys to focus on these bodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 20 2012


  • minor planets, asteroids: general
  • polarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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