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Identification of Water Ice on the Centaur 1997 CU26

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Science  29 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5368, pp. 1430-1432
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5368.1430

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Abstract

Spectra of the Centaur 1997 CU26 were obtained at the Keck Observatory on 27 October 1997 (universal time). The data show strong absorptions at 1.52 and 2.03 micrometers attributable to water ice on the surface of 1997 CU26. The reflectance spectrum of 1997 CU26 is matched by the spectrum of a mixture of low-temperature, particulate water ice and spectrally featureless but otherwise red-colored material. Water ice dominates the spectrum of 1997 CU26, whereas methane or methane-like hydrocarbons apparently dominate the spectrum of the Kuiper belt object 1993 SC, perhaps indicating different origins, thermal histories, or both for these two objects.

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