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Asteroid (21) Lutetia

Title: Puzzling asteroid 21 Lutetia: our knowledge prior to the Rosetta fly-by
Authors: I.N.Belskaya, S.Fornasier, Yu.N.Krugly, V.G.Shevchenko, N.M.Gaftonyuk, M.A.Barucci, M.Fulchignoni, R.Gil-Hutton

A wide observational campaign was carried out in 2004-2009 aimed to complete the ground-based investigation of Lutetia prior to the Rosetta fly-by in July 2010. We have obtained BVRI photometric and V-band polarimetric measurements over a wide range of phase angles, and visible and infrared spectra in the 0.4-2.4 micron range. We analysed them together with previously published data to retrieve information on Lutetia's surface properties. Values of lightcurve amplitudes, absolute magnitude, opposition effect, phase coefficient and BVRI colours of Lutetia surface seen at near pole-on aspect have been determined. We defined more precisely parameters of polarization phase curve and showed their distinct deviation from any other moderate-albedo asteroid. An indication of possible variations both in polarization and spectral data across the asteroid surface was found. To explain features found by different techniques we propose that (i) Lutetia has a non-convex shape, probably due to the presence of a large crater, and heterogeneous surface properties probably related to surface morphology; (ii) at least part of the surface is covered by a fine-grained regolith with particle size less than 20 microns; (iii) the closest meteorite analogues of Lutetia's surface composition are particular types of carbonaceous chondrites or Lutetia has specific surface composition not representative among studied meteorites.

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