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Comparison of USGS and DLR topographic models of Comet Borrelly and photometric applications

January 1, 2004

Stereo analysis of images obtained during the 2001 flyby of Comet Borrelly by NASA's Deep Space 1 (DS1) probe allows us to quantify the shape and photometric behavior of the nucleus. The shape is complex, with planar facets corresponding to the dark, mottled regions of the surface whereas the bright, smooth regions are convexly curved. The photometric as well as textural differences between these regions can be explained in terms of topography (roughness) at and below the image resolution, without invoking significant variations in single-particle properties; the material on Borrelly's surface could be quite uniform. A statistical comparison of the digital elevation models (DEMs) produced from the three highest-resolution images independently at the USGS and DLR shows that their difference standard deviation is 120 m, consistent with a matching error of 0.20 pixel (similar to reported matching accuracies for many other stereo datasets). The DEMs also show some systematic differences attributable to manual versus automatic matching. Disk-resolved photometric modeling of the nucleus using the DEM shows that bright, smooth terrains on Borrelly are similar in roughness (Hapke roughness θ=20°) to C-type asteroid Mathilde but slightly brighter and more backscattering (single-scattering albedo w=0.056, Henyey–Greenstein phase parameter g=−0.32). The dark, mottled terrain is photometrically consistent with the same particles but with roughnesses as large as 60°. Intrinsically darker material is inconsistent with the phase behavior of these regions. Many local radiance variations are clearly related to topography, and others are consistent with a topographic explanation; one need not invoke albedo variations greater than a few tens of percent to explain the appearance of Borrelly.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2004
Title Comparison of USGS and DLR topographic models of Comet Borrelly and photometric applications
DOI 10.1016/j.icarus.2003.07.009
Authors Randolph L. Kirk, Elpitha Howington-Kraus, Laurence A. Soderblom, Bernd Giese, Jürgen Oberst
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Icarus
Series Number
Index ID 70027776
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center