Near-infrared spectral observations and interpretations for S-asteroids 138 Tolosa, 306 Unitas, 346 Hermentaria, and 480 Hansa

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

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21 Scopus citations


Near-infrared (∼0.7 to ∼2.5 μm) spectra of S-asteroids 138 Tolosa, 306 Unitas, 346 Hermentaria, and 480 Hansa suggest the presence of variable amounts of orthopyroxene ± clinopyroxene ± olivine ± plagioclase feldspar on the surfaces of these asteroids. The spectra of these asteroids were compared to laboratory mineral mixtures of orthopyroxene, clinopyroxene, and olivine [Singer, R.B., 1981. J. Geophys. Res. 86 (B9), 7967-7982; Cloutis, E.A., 1985. Master's thesis]. The band parameters (band centers, band areas) were quantified and temperature-corrected [Moroz et al., 2000. Icarus 147, 79-93; Gaffey et al., 2002. In: Bottke Jr., W.F., Cellino, A., Paolicchi, P., Binzel, R.P. (Eds.), Asteroids III. The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, pp. 183-204]. Each S-asteroid in this paper exhibits an overall spectral shape with band parameters that are inconsistent with ordinary chondrite near-infrared spectra and their inferred mineral abundances and/or pyroxene chemistries. 138 Tolosa displays a complex spectrum with a broad ∼1 μm absorption feature that displays a double Band I minimum, a well-defined absorption at ∼1.3 μm, and a broad, but weak absorption in the ∼2 μm region. Although different interpretations exist, the Tolosa spectrum is most consistent with a ∼ 60/40 mixture of Type B clinopyroxene and orthopyroxene. Spectra of 306 Unitas suggest a surface with variable amounts of low-Ca pyroxene and olivine. Unitas is located in the S-(IV) and S-(VI) subtype regions in Gaffey et al. [1993. Icarus 106, 573-602]. 346 Hermentaria exhibits a complex, broad Band I absorption feature and a weak Band II feature, which suggests a ∼ 50/50 mixture of clinopyroxene and orthopyroxene. Hermentaria is classified as an S-(III). Spectra of 480 Hansa suggest a dominant low-Ca pyroxene component with lesser amounts of olivine. Based on these characterizations, these four S-asteroids should not be considered as potential ordinary chondrite parent bodies. Furthermore, these results suggest that these S-asteroids experienced at least partial melting temperatures [ T ≥ ∼950 °C: Gaffey et al., 1993. Icarus 106, 573-602; Keil, K., 2000. Planet. Space Sci. 48, 887-903] during the formation epoch in the early Solar System. Continuing spectroscopic investigations will discern the relative abundance of chondritic and thermally-evolved objects among the S-type asteroids that have survived since the formation epoch ∼4.56 billion years ago.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-106
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Asteroids
  • Mineralogy
  • Spectroscopy
  • Thermal histories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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