Infrared Diameter of Vesta


REMARKABLY few determinations have been made of the diameters and albedos of the minor planets. The figures usually quoted1 were obtained seventy years ago by Barnard2 using a filar micrometer on the 36-inch Lick and 40-inch Yerkes refractors. He was measuring disks a few tenths of a second of arc across, not much larger than the theoretical resolving power of these instruments, yet quoted on one occasion an estimated accuracy of ± 6 per cent. It is on the basis of these measurements that the albedos and diameters of all smaller asteroids have been estimated. Clearly better observations are needed. Kuiper measured a dozen minor planets in the 1950s using the 82-inch McDonald reflector but has not published the results.

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ALLEN, D. Infrared Diameter of Vesta. Nature 227, 158–159 (1970).

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