Near-infrared spectrophotometry of phobos and deimos

A. S. Rivkin, R. H. Brown, D. E. Trilling, J. F. Bell, J. H. Plassmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


We have observed the leading and trailing hemispheres of Phobos from 1.65 to 3.5 μm and Deimos from 1.65 to 3.12 μm near opposition. We find the trailing hemisphere of Phobos to be brighter than its leading hemisphere by 0.24 ± 0.06 magnitude at 1.65 μm and brighter than Deimos by 0.98 ± 0.07 magnitude at 1.65 μm. We see no difference larger than observational uncertainties in spectral slope between the leading and trailing hemispheres when the spectra are normalized to 1.65 μm. We find no 3-μm absorption feature due to hydrated minerals on either hemisphere to a level of ∼5-10% on Phobos and ∼20% on Deimos. When the infrared data are joined to visible and near-IR data obtained by previous workers, our data suggest the leading (Stickney-dominated) side of Phobos is best matched by T-class asteroids. The spectral slope of the trailing side of Phobos and leading side of Deimos are bracketed by the D-class asteroids. The best laboratory spectral matches to these parts of Phobos are mature lunar soils and heated carbonaceous chondrites. The lack of 3-μm absorption features on either side of Phobos argues against the presence of a large interior reservoir of water ice according to current models of Phobos' interior (F. P. Fanale and J. R. Salvail 1989, Geophys. Res. Lett. 16, 287-290; Icarus 88, 380-395).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-75
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Asteroid composition
  • Infrared observations
  • Satellites of mars
  • Spectrophotometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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