(55636) 2002 TX300 (North Up, East Left)
55636, also known as 2002 TX300, is a bright Kuiper belt object in the outer Solar System estimated to be about 286 kilometres in diameter. It is a large member of the Haumea family that was discovered on 15 October 15 2002 by the Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) program. 2002 TX300 is a classical Kuiper belt object with an absolute magnitude between that of 50000 Quaoar and 20000 Varuna. 2002 TX300 has the most eccentric and inclined orbit of the three. A variability of the visual brightness was also detected which could fit to 7.9 h or 15.8 h rotational period (the distinction between single or double-peaked curved could not be made with confidence). The changes in brightness are quite close to the error margin and could also be due to an irregular shape. The spectrum in the visible and near-infrared rages is very similar to that of Charon. Mineralogical analysis indicates a substantial fraction of large ice (H2O) particles. The signal-to- noise ratio of the observations was insufficient to differentiate between amorphous or crystalline ice (crystalline ice was reported on Charon, Quaoar and Haumea). The proportion of highly processed organic materials (tholins), typically present on numerous trans-Neptunian objects, is very low. As suggested by Licandro et al. 2006, this lack of irradiated mantle suggest either a recent collision or comet activity. This image comprises 6 x Clear (180 seconds each), 0.5m f/2.9 ASA Astrograph with FLI ML3200 camera at an altitude of 80 degrees on 21 August 2018, when the asteroid was at a distance of 42.6 au from the Sun at 20th magnitude. The field of view is 29’ x 19’.
Hills Observatory: 1 January 2013 to 26 May 2020