Near-ultraviolet to visible spectroscopy of the Themis and Polana-Eulalia complex families

Tatsumi, E.; Tinaut-Ruano, F.; de León, J.; Popescu, M.; Licandro, J.
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Astronomy and Astrophysics

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Context. Spectrophotometry data of asteroids obtained in the 1980s showed that there are large variations in their near-ultraviolet (NUV) reflectance spectra. Reflectance spectra at NUV wavelengths are important because they help detect the presence of hydrated minerals and organics on the asteroid surfaces. However, the NUV wavelength region has not been fully investigated yet using spectroscopic data.
Aims: The aim of our study is to obtain the near-ultraviolet to visible (NUV-VIS, 0.35-0.95 μm) reflectance spectra of primitive asteroids with a focus on members of the Themis and Polana-Eulalia complex families. This characterization allows us to discuss the origin of two recent sample return mission target asteroids, (162173) Ryugu and (101955) Bennu.
Methods: We obtain low-resolution visible spectra of target asteroids down to 0.35 μm using the telescopes located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (La Palma, Spain) and revisit spectroscopic data that have already been published. Using new spectroscopic and already published spectrophotometric and spectroscopic data, we study the characteristics of the NUV-VIS reflectance spectra of primitive asteroids, focusing on data of the Themis family and the Polana-Eulalia family complex. Finally, we compare the NUV characteristics of these families with (162173) Ryugu and (101955) Bennu. In this work, we also study systematic effects due to the use of the five commonly used stars in Landolt's catalog as solar analogs to obtain the asteroid reflectance in the NUV wavelength range. We compare the spectra of five G-stars in Landolt's catalog with the spectrum of the well-studied solar analog Hyades 64, also observed on the same nights.
Results: We find that many widely used Landolt's G-type stars are not solar analogs in the NUV wavelength spectral region and thus are not suitable for obtaining the reflectance spectra of asteroids. We also find that, even though the Themis family and the PolanaEulalia family complex show a similar blueness at visible wavelengths, the NUV absorption of the Themis family is much deeper than that of the Polana-Eulalia family complex. We did not find significant differences between the New Polana and Eulalia families in terms of the NUV-VIS slope. (162173) Ryugu's and (101955) Bennu's spectral characteristics in the NUV-VIS overlaps with those of the Polana-Eulalia family complex which implies that it is the most likely origin of these two near-Earth asteroids.
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