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Journal Articles The Astronomical Journal Year : 2010

(90377) Sedna: Investigation of Surface Compositional Variation


The dwarf planet (90377) Sedna is one of the most remote solar system objects accessible to investigations. To better constrain its surface composition and to investigate the possible heterogeneity of the surface of Sedna, several observations have been carried out at ESO-VLT with the powerful spectrometer SINFONI observing simultaneously the H and K bands. The analyzed spectra (obtained in 2005, 2007, and 2008) show a non-uniform spectral signature, particularly in the K band. Spectral modeling using the Shkuratov radiative transfer code for surface scattering has been performed using the various sets of data, including previous observations at visible wavelengths and photometry at 3.6 and 4.5 mum by the Spitzer Space Telescope. The visible and near-infrared spectra can be modeled with organic materials (triton and titan tholin), serpentine, and H2O ice in fairly significant amounts, and CH4, N2, and C2H6 in varying trace amounts. One of the spectra obtained in 2005 October shows a different signature in the K band and is best modeled with CH3OH in place of CH4, with reduced amounts of serpentine and with the addition of olivine. The compositional surface heterogeneity can give input on the past history as well clues to the origin of this peculiar, distant object.

Dates and versions

hal-03732693 , version 1 (21-07-2022)



Maria Antonella Barucci, Cristina M. Dalle Ore, Alvaro Alvarez-Candal, Catherine de Bergh, Frédéric Merlin, et al.. (90377) Sedna: Investigation of Surface Compositional Variation. The Astronomical Journal, 2010, 140, pp.2095-2100. ⟨10.1088/0004-6256/140/6/2095⟩. ⟨hal-03732693⟩
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