Shape Models of Asteroids

Creating shape models of asteroids was once only the prevue of professional astronomers using home grown software.  Now, with data collected at multiple oppositions amateur astronomers using MPO LCInvert can create their own shape models.  Hundreds of shape models have been created giving valuable information about families and classes of asteroids.  These can help identify common collision events in the past.

This is definitely a long-term project.  Usually dense lightcurves are obtained at two or more oppositions at well separated places along the asteroid's orbit.  This can be combined with sparse data from the survey programs to provide sufficient detail to build a model.  The data collection period can last up to ten years.

One of several possible shape models of the Main Belt asteroid 11 Parthenope created from data collected by Bob Stephens and Brian Warner.