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  • Muinonen, K.; Torppa, J.; Wang, X-B; Cellino, A.; Penttilä, A. (2020)
    Context. We assess statistical inversion of asteroid rotation periods, pole orientations, shapes, and phase curve parameters from photometric lightcurve observations, here sparse data from the ESA Gaia space mission (Data Release 2) or dense and sparse data from ground-based observing programs.Aims. Assuming general convex shapes, we develop inverse methods for characterizing the Bayesian a posteriori probability density of the parameters (unknowns). We consider both random and systematic uncertainties (errors) in the observations, and assign weights to the observations with the help of Bayesian a priori probability densities.Methods. For general convex shapes comprising large numbers of parameters, we developed a Markov-chain Monte Carlo sampler (MCMC) with a novel proposal probability density function based on the simulation of virtual observations giving rise to virtual least-squares solutions. We utilized these least-squares solutions to construct a proposal probability density for MCMC sampling. For inverse methods involving triaxial ellipsoids, we update the uncertainty model for the observations.Results. We demonstrate the utilization of the inverse methods for three asteroids with Gaia photometry from Data Release 2: (21) Lutetia, (26) Proserpina, and (585) Bilkis. First, we validated the convex inverse methods using the combined ground-based and Gaia data for Lutetia, arriving at rotation and shape models in agreement with those derived with the help of Rosetta space mission data. Second, we applied the convex inverse methods to Proserpina and Bilkis, illustrating the potential of the Gaia photometry for setting constraints on asteroid light scattering as a function of the phase angle (the Sun-object-observer angle). Third, with the help of triaxial ellipsoid inversion as applied to Gaia photometry only, we provide additional proof that the absolute Gaia photometry alone can yield meaningful photometric slope parameters. Fourth, for (585) Bilkis, we report, with 1-sigma uncertainties, a refined rotation period of (8.5750559 0.0000026) h, pole longitude of 320.6 degrees +/- 1.2 degrees, pole latitude of - 25.6 degrees +/- 1.7 degrees, and the first shape model and its uncertainties from convex inversion.Conclusions. We conclude that the inverse methods provide realistic uncertainty estimators for the lightcurve inversion problem and that the Gaia photometry can provide an asteroid taxonomy based on the phase curves.
  • Wang, Xiaobin; Muinonen, Karri (Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 2018)
    Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series
    The ground-based photometric observations of asteroids still is the main source to understand their basic physical properties, even though some space mission and space-based instruments have been applied in physical studies of asteroids. Owing to developments on scattering theories and 3D shape models of asteroid, we can carry out determination for basic physical parameters of asteroids from the photometric data. Here, we present photometric observations for some selected asteroids and light inversion results for these asteroids. In detail, they are: (1) To determine photometric phase functions of asteroids (107)Camilla and (106) Dione considering an ellipsoid shape and a cellinoid shape respectively; and (2) To inverse convex shape of main-belt slow rotating asteroids (168) Sibylla and (346)Hermentaria and a near Earth asteroid (3200) Phaethon. Based on derived photometric phase functions, the geometric albedo, and even rough taxonomic classification of asteroids are inferred. With the virtual photometry Monta Carlo method, the uncertainties of spin parameters of selected asteroids were compared.