Surface heterogeneity of 2005 UD from photometric observations

D. Kinoshita, K. Ohtsuka, T. Sekiguchi, J. Watanabe, T. Ito, H. Arakida, T. Kasuga, S. Miyasaka, R. Nakamura, H. C. Lin

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Context. The recently discovered Apollo-type near-Earth asteroid 2005 UD has been suggested to be a fragment of (3200) Phaethon. Aims. To test this hypothesis, we carried out photometric observations of 2005 UD using the 1-m telescope at Lulin Observatory. Methods. Multi-color photometry was used to compare the surface properties of (3200) Phaethon and 2005 UD. Surface-color variation due to the rotation was also examined. Results. The time-resolved differential photometry showed clear brightness variation, and the lightcurve was fitted with a rotation period of 5.23 h and an amplitude of 0.44 mag. Using this rotational lightcurve, we derived the surface colors of 2005 UD. The surface of 2005 UD exhibits colors similar to those of F- and B-type asteroids, which is consistent with (3200) Phaethon. Furthermore, the (R - 1) color of 2005 UD shows variation during the rotation of the body. Conclusions. The similarity of surface colors between (3200) Phaethon and 2005 UD observationally supports the hypothesis that 2005 UD is likely to be a fragment of (3200) Phaethon. A simple explanation for the inhomogeneity of the surface is that we see the surface and subsurface of the precursor object. Another explanation is the topographical structure that such as a large crater causes on this heterogeneous surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153-1158
Number of pages6
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Comets: general
  • Meteors, meteoroids
  • Minor planets, asteroids
  • Techniques: photometric


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