Characterizing subpopulations within the near-earth objects with NEOWISE: Preliminary results

A. Mainzer, T. Grav, J. Masiero, J. Bauer, R. S. McMillan, J. Giorgini, T. Spahr, R. M. Cutri, D. J. Tholen, R. Jedicke, R. Walker, E. Wright, C. R. Nugent

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


We present the preliminary results of an analysis of the sub-populations within the near-Earth asteroids, including the Atens, Apollos, Amors, and those that are considered potentially hazardous using data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). In order to extrapolate the sample of objects detected by WISE to the greater population, we determined the survey biases for asteroids detected by the project's automated moving object processing system (known as NEOWISE) as a function of diameter, visible albedo, and orbital elements. Using this technique, we are able to place constraints on the number of potentially hazardous asteroids larger than 100 m and find that there are ̃4700 ± 1450 such objects. As expected, the Atens, Apollos, and Amors are revealed by WISE to have somewhat different albedo distributions, with the Atens being brighter than the Amors. The cumulative size distributions of the various near-Earth object (NEO) subgroups vary slightly between 100 m and 1km. A comparison of the observed orbital elements of the various sub-populations of the NEOs with the current best model is shown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 20 2012


  • atlases
  • catalogs
  • minor planets, asteroids: general
  • surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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