Using SuperWASP to Study Asteroid Light Curves and Phase Curves

Andrews, Allison (2023). Using SuperWASP to Study Asteroid Light Curves and Phase Curves. PhD thesis The Open University.



The SuperWASP project was used to make a serendipitous survey of asteroids between 2004 and 2013, making a total 7692660 individual observations divided among 12419 unique asteroids. The high cadence of observations makes this data set ideal for analysis of light curves, while the long time base makes for good phase curve coverage over multiple apparitions.
This thesis firstly acts as a review of this asteroid database and the survey itself. This covers a statistical analysis of its contents, as well as a study of some of the systematic issues affecting results, including anomalous calibration offsets between observations in different cameras; this calibration issue could not be corrected, but was quantifiable as to be accounted for in later analysis.
The contents of the database were used for a study into phase curve variability, utilising SuperWASP’s multi-apparition coverage. This includes making HG phase fits for 4448 phase curve apparitions pertaining to 1429 different asteroids. A detailed study was made with ten specific examples which could be compared against simulated phase curves from Hapke scattering models; these successfully demonstrated observable aspect related phase variations, including in one case an apparent ’reversal’ effect.

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