Composition, mineralogy, and porosity of multiple asteroid systems from visible and near-infrared spectral data

S. S. Lindsay, F. Marchis, J. P. Emery, J. E. Enriquez, M. Assafin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We aim to provide a taxonomic and compositional characterization of Multiple Asteroid Systems (MASs) located in the main belt (MB) using visible (0.45-0.85μm) and near-infrared (0.7-2.5μm) spectral data of 42MB MASs. The compositional and mineralogical analysis is applied to determine meteorite analogs for the MASs, which, in turn, are applied to the MAS density measurements of Marchis et al. (Marchis et al. [2012]. Icarus 221, 1130-1161) to estimate the porosity of the systems. The macroporosities are used to evaluate the primary MAS formation hypotheses. Our spectral survey consists of visible and near-infrared spectral data. The visible observing campaign includes 25MASs obtained using the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope with the Goodman High Throughput Spectrometer. The infrared observing campaign includes 34MASs obtained using the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) with the SpeX spectragraph. For completeness, both visible and NIR data sets are supplemented with publicly available data, and the data sets are combined where possible. The MASs are classified using the Bus-DeMeo taxonomic system. In order to determine mineralogy and meteorite analog, we perform a NIR spectral band parameter analysis using a new analysis routine, the Spectral Analysis Routine for Asteroids (SARA). The SARA routine determines band centers, areas, and depths by utilizing the diagnostic absorption features near 1- and 2-μm due to Fe2+ crystal field transitions in olivine+pyroxene and pyroxene, respectively. The band parameter analysis provides the Gaffey subtype for the S-complex MASs; the relative abundance olivine-to-pyroxene ratio; and olivine and pyroxene modal abundances for S-complex and V-type MASs. This mineralogical information is then applied to determine meteorite analogs. Through applying calibration studies, we are able to determine the H, L, and LL meteorite analogs for 15MASs with ordinary chondrite-like (OC) mineralogies. We observe an excess (10/15) of LL-like mineralogies. Of the ten MASs with LL-like mineralogies, seven are consistent with Flora family membership, supporting the hypothesis that the Flora family is a source of LL-like NEAs and LL chondrites on Earth. Our band parameter analysis is unable to clearly distinguish between the HED subgroups for the 6 V-type MASs. Using the measured densities of the meteorite analog and the MAS densities from Marchis et al. (Marchis et al. [2012]. Icarus 221, 1130-1161), we estimate the macroporosity for 13MASs. We find that all of the MASs with estimated macroporosities are in agreement with formation hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-70
Number of pages18
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Asteroids, composition
  • Infrared observations
  • Mineralogy
  • Satellites of asteroids
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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