NEOWISE Reactivation Mission Year Three: Asteroid Diameters and Albedos

October 2017 • 2017AJ....154..168M

Authors • Masiero, Joseph R. • Nugent, C. • Mainzer, A. K. • Wright, E. L. • Bauer, J. M. • Cutri, R. M. • Grav, T. • Kramer, E. • Sonnett, S.

Abstract • The Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) reactivation mission has completed its third year of surveying the sky in the thermal infrared for near-Earth asteroids and comets. NEOWISE collects simultaneous observations at 3.4 and 4.6 μm of solar system objects passing through its field of regard. These data allow for the determination of total thermal emission from bodies in the inner solar system, and thus the sizes of these objects. In this paper, we present thermal model fits of asteroid diameters for 170 NEOs and 6110 Main Belt asteroids (MBAs) detected during the third year of the survey, as well as the associated optical geometric albedos. We compare our results with previous thermal model results from NEOWISE for overlapping sample sets, as well as diameters determined through other independent methods, and find that our diameter measurements for NEOs agree to within 26% (1σ) of previously measured values. Diameters for the MBAs are within 17% (1σ). This brings the total number of unique near-Earth objects characterized by the NEOWISE survey to 541, surpassing the number observed during the fully cryogenic mission in 2010.


IPAC Authors

Roc Cutri

IPAC Deputy Director


Joe Masiero

Associate Scientist