Primitive, outer-belt asteroids are generally of low albedo, reflecting carbonaceous compositions like those of CI and CM meteorites. However, a few outer-belt asteroids having high albedos are known, suggesting the presence of unusually reflective surface minerals or, conceivably, even exposed water ice. Here, we present near-infrared (1.1-2.5 μm) spectra of four outer-belt C-complex asteroids with albedos ≥0.1. We find no absorption features characteristic of water ice (near 1.5 and 2.0 μm) in the objects. Intimate mixture models set limits to the water ice by weight ≤2%. Asteroids (723) Hammonia and (936) Kunigunde are featureless and have (60%-95%) amorphous Mg pyroxenes that might explain the high albedos. Asteroid (1276) Ucclia also shows a featureless reflection spectrum with (50%-60%) amorphous Mg pyroxenes. Asteroid (1576) Fabiola shows a possible weak, broad absorption band (1.5-2.1 μm). The feature can be reproduced by (80%) amorphous Mg pyroxenes or orthopyroxene (crystalline silicate), either of which is likely to cause its high albedo. We discuss the origin of high-albedo components in primitive asteroids.
- infrared: planetary systems
- minor planets, asteroids: general
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science