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Detection of water and/or hydroxyl on asteroid (16) Psyche

December 1, 2016

In order to search for evidence of hydration on M-type asteroid (16) Psyche, we observed this object in the 3 μm spectral region using the long-wavelength cross-dispersed (LXD: 1.9–4.2 μm) mode of the SpeX spectrograph/imager at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility. Our observations show that Psyche exhibits a 3 μm absorption feature, attributed to water or hydroxyl. The 3 μm absorption feature is consistent with the hydration features found on the surfaces of water-rich asteroids, attributed to OH- and/or H2O-bearing phases (phyllosilicates). The detection of a 3 μm hydration absorption band on Psyche suggests that this asteroid may not be a metallic core, or it could be a metallic core that has been impacted by carbonaceous material over the past 4.5 Gyr. Our results also indicate rotational spectral variations, which we suggest reflect heterogeneity in the metal/silicate ratio on the surface of Psyche.

Publication Year 2016
Title Detection of water and/or hydroxyl on asteroid (16) Psyche
DOI 10.3847/1538-3881/153/1/31
Authors Driss Takir, Vishnu Reddy, Juan A. Sanchez, Michael K. Shepard, Joshua P. Emery
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Astronomical Journal
Index ID 70194259
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center