The primary objective of this research is to characterize the surface composition of five comet-asteroid transition objects via near-infrared spectroscopy. The five targets include two asteroids with Tisserand invariants lower than 3.0 (1373 Cincinnati and 2906 Caltech), one asteroid that is likely an extinct comet (944 Hidalgo), one intermittent activity comet (162P/Siding Spring), and one nearly dormant comet (28P/Neujmin1). Previous research regarding cometary end states and dynamical and physical properties of comets and asteroids provides the foundation for this work. Focusing primarily on the 1-2.5 µm spectral region of the five target objects, this project specifically searches for mineral species such as olivine, pyroxene, hydrated silicates, and organics. Comparisons are made with comets, main belt asteroids, and Trojan asteroids. All our targets have near-infrared spectra with varying "red" slopes from S'=1.7 to 5.3. Slopes in this range are characteristic of both primitive asteroids and comets. Three of our objects, 944 Hidalgo, 162P/Siding Spring, 28P/Neujmin 1, showed relatively featureless near-infrared spectra. The two objects dynamically most likely to be of asteroidal origin, 1373 Cincinnati and 2906 Caltech, both displayed features in the 0.8 to 2.5 micron range, not present in any of our other targets or the comparison cometary nuclei. Spectra of 944 Hidalgo were acquired at several rotational phases and clear rotational variations were found. Hints of spectral variability were also observed in 28P/Neujmin 1 and 162P/Siding Spring. Neither 1373 nor 2906 were examined for rotational variability. Based on our results, we believe that 1373 Cincinnatti and 2906 Caltech are not cometary. The spectral range of our targets and cometary spectra in the near-infrared is the same as that of Trojan asteroids. Recommendations for future investigation are suggested.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Ziffer, Julie Elaine, "Near-Infrared Observations Of Comet-Asteroid Transition Objects" (2006). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6109.