Finding Dark Asteroids

Wise_wise2011-nea-c_500

WISE_WISE2011-NEA-c September 29th, 2011

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC)

This chart illustrates why infrared-sensing telescopes are more suited to finding small, dark asteroids than telescopes that detect visible light. The top of the chart shows how three asteroids of the same size but differing compositions would appear in visible light. An asteroid that has a shinier surface, or higher albedo, will appear brighter than a dark asteroid, even though they are the same size. This is because a shinier asteroid will reflect more visible light from the sun.

The bottom of the chart shows the same three asteroids when viewed in infrared light. They appear to be the same brightness, regardless of their albedo. Objects of the same size will radiate about the same amount of infrared light, as result of being heated by the sun. It's easier for an infrared telescope to see a small, dark asteroid because it senses the object's heat signature and not the little amounts of reflected sunlight.

Image Source: /image/WISE/WISE2011-NEA-c

Curator: Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, Berkeley, CA, USA

Image Use Policy: Pulic Domain

Image Details

Image Type
Artwork
Subject - Solar System
Interplanetary Body » Asteroid
Wise_wise2011-nea-c_1280
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ID
WISE2011-NEA-c
Subject Category
A.2.3  
Subject Name
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC)
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
/image/WISE/WISE2011-NEA-c
Type
Artwork
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Instrument
Color Assignment
Band
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
Equinox
Reference Value
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
URL
http://wise.astro.ucla.edu
Name
Email
outreach@ssl.berkeley.edu
Telephone
Address
7 Gauss Way
City
Berkeley
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
94720
Country
USA
Rights
Pulic Domain
Publisher
Publisher ID
WISE
Resource ID
Resource URL
/image/WISE/WISE2011-NEA-c
Related Resources
Metadata Date
2012-10-10 18:57:27 -0700
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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There is no distance meta data in this image.