Constraining albedo, diameter and composition of near-Earth asteroids via near-infrared spectroscopy

Vishnu Reddy, Michael J. Gaffey, Paul A. Abell, Paul S. Hardersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We present a method to constrain the albedo and diameters of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) based on thermal flux in their near-infrared spectra (0.7-2.5. μm) using the Standard Thermal Model. Near-infrared spectra obtained with the SpeX instrument on NASA Infrared Telescope Facility are used to estimate the albedo and diameters of 12 NEAs (1992 JE, 1992 UY4, 1999 JD6, 2004 XP14, 2005 YY93, 2007 DS84, 2005 AD13, 2005 WJ56, 1999 JM8, 2005 RC34, 2003 YE45, and 2008 QS11). Albedo estimates were compared with average albedo for various taxonomic classes outlined by Thomas et al. (Thomas, C.A. et al. [2011]. Astron. J. 142(3)) and are consistent with their results. Spectral band parameters, like band centers, are derived and compared to spectra of laboratory mineral mixtures and meteorites to constrain their composition and possible meteorite analogs. Based on our study we estimate the albedos and diameters of these NEAs and compare them with those obtained by other techniques such as ground-based mid-infrared, Spitzer thermal infrared and Arecibo radar. Our results are broadly consistent with the results from other direct methods like radar. Determining the compositions of low albedo asteroids is a challenge due to the lack of deep silicate absorption features. However, based on weak absorption features and albedo, we suggest possible meteorite analogs for these NEAs, which include black chondrites, CM2 carbonaceous chondrites and enstatite achondrites. We did not find any specific trends in albedo and composition among the asteroids we observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-392
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Asteroids, Composition
  • Meteorites
  • Near-Earth objects
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Constraining albedo, diameter and composition of near-Earth asteroids via near-infrared spectroscopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this