Speckle interferometry of asteroids. I. 433 eros

J. D. Drummond, W. J. Cocke, E. K. Hege, P. A. Strittmatter, J. V. Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Analytic expressions for the semimajor and semiminor axes and an orientation angle of the ellipse projected by a triaxial ellipsoid (an asteroid) and of the ellipse segment cast by a terminator across the ellipsoid as functions of the dimensions and pole of the body and the asterocenteric position of the Earth and Sun are derived. Applying these formulae to observations of the Earth-approaching asteroid 433 Eros obtained with the speckle interferometry system of Steward Observatory on December 17-18, 1981, and January 17-18, 1982, the following dimensions are derived: (40.5 ± 3.1 km) × (14.5 ± 2.3 km) × (14.1 ± 2.4 km) Eros' north pole is found to lie within 14° of RA = 0h16m Dec. = +43° (ecliptic longitude 23°, latitude +37°). Other than knowing the rotation period of Eros, these results are completely independent of any other data, and in the main confirm the results obtained in the 1974-1975 apparition by other methods. These dimensions, together with a lightcurve from December 18, 1981, lead to a geometric albedo of 0.156 ± 0.010. A series of two-dimensional power spectra and autocorrelation functions of the resolved asteroid clearly show it spinning in space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-151
Number of pages20
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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