We present the K2 light curves of a large sample of untargeted main-belt asteroids (MBAs) detected with the Kepler Space Telescope. The asteroids were observed within the Uranus superstamp, a relatively large, continuous field with a low stellar background designed to cover the planet Uranus and its moons during Campaign 8 of the K2 mission. The superstamp offered the possibility of obtaining precise, uninterrupted light curves of a large number of MBAs and thus determining unambiguous rotation rates for them. We obtained photometry for 608 MBAs, and were able to determine or estimate rotation rates for 90 targets, of which 86 had no known values before. In an additional 16 targets we detected incomplete cycles and/or eclipse-like events. We found the median rotation rate to be significantly longer than that of the ground-based observations, indicating that the latter are biased toward shorter rotation rates. Our study highlights the need and benefits of further continuous photometry of asteroids.
- minor planets, asteroids: general
- techniques: photometric
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science