Asteroids as tracers of solar system formation: Probing the interior of primordial main belt asteroids


This is a database that allows retrieving the reduced and deconvolved images as well as the 3D shape models of the asteroids surveyed during the ESO large program 199.C-0074 (PI: Pierre Vernazza) whose main science objective is to characterize the density of the largest asteroids (~35 asteroids with D>100km) with unprecedented precision (<10%), sampling the four main compositional classes (S, Ch/Cgh, B/C and P/D; objects belonging to these classes represent more than 90% of the mass of the asteroid belt). To achieve our science objective, we perform high angular-resolution observations of our targets with VLT/SPHERE throughout their rotation in order to derive their volume (via their 3-D shape; e.g. Viikinkoski et al. 2015), which, combined with already existing mass estimates, provide their bulk density. The high-resolution 3-D shapes also allow us to detect craters larger than 30 km and use their morphology (crater diameter and depth) to characterize the density of the outer shell. The knowledge of both the bulk density and the density of the outer shell of our targets allows a characterization of their internal structure. This information, in turn, allows us to determine: (a) the nature of their initial building blocks (rock only, or a mixture of ice and rock) and (b) which compositional classes experienced differentiation. As soon as papers have been accepted for publication, we make the corresponding reduced and deconvolved AO images and 3D shape models publicly available.


4Vesta (Fetick et al. Closing the gap between Earth-based and interplanetary mission observations: Vesta seen by VLT/SPHERE A&A, 2019)

16Psyche (Viikinkoski et al. (16) Psyche: A mesosiderite-like asteroid?, A&A, 2018)

89Julia (Vernazza et al. The impact crater at the origin of the Julia family detected with VLT/SPHERE? A&A, 2018)

Published papers