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Pre-perihelion activity of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Guilbert-Lepoutre, A., Schulz, R., Rożek, A., Lowry, S.C., Tozzi, G.P., Stüwe, J.A. (2014) Pre-perihelion activity of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 567 . (L2) 1-4. ISSN 0004-6361. E-ISSN 1432-0746. (doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201424186) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201424186

Abstract

Context. Comets are believed to hold a relatively pristine record of the physical and chemical processes that occurred during the formation and evolution of the solar system. Thorough investigations of these small bodies, such as the one that will be performed by the ESA/Rosetta cornerstone mission, are thus supposed to bring strong and unique constraints on the origins of the solar system. Aims. Because comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was only recently selected as the target for the ESA/Rosetta mission, there has been little opportunity to study its pre-perihelion activity. This phase is, however, very important for the mission, since the global mapping of the nucleus and the choice of landing site for Philae will be performed during this pre-perihelion phase. Here, we report previously unpublished data of the last pre-perihelion passage of this comet, observed between May and September 2008. Methods. The gas and dust activity of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko are studied through visible spectroscopy and broadband imaging, respectively, covering a range of pre-perihelion heliocentric distances between 2.99 and 2.22 AU. Results. The data we have gathered on the dust activity are consistent with trends observed by other authors and show a strong asymmetry between the pre- and post-perihelion phases of the orbit. The spectra do not show any lines due to the emission of volatiles, and upper limits on their production rates are typically one order of magnitude lower than at the equivalent post-perihelion heliocentric distances. The asymmetry in the pre- and post-perihelion phases of the activity may be due to a dusty crust quenching the activity at the surface of 67P. We estimate that this crust could be about 12 cm thick, although not uniform across the surface. Even if no gas is individually detected, the coma surface brightness profiles might indicate a possible contamination from gaseous species emitted before the comet actually reaches perihelion. © 2014 ESO.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1051/0004-6361/201424186
Additional information: Unmapped bibliographic data: C7 - L2 [EPrints field already has value set] LA - English [Field not mapped to EPrints] J2 - Astron. Astrophys. [Field not mapped to EPrints] AD - European Space Agency - ESTEC, 2200 AG Noordwijk, Netherlands [Field not mapped to EPrints] AD - Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science, School of Physical Sciences, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NH, United Kingdom [Field not mapped to EPrints] AD - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo Enrico Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy [Field not mapped to EPrints] AD - Sterrewacht Leiden, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, Netherlands [Field not mapped to EPrints] AD - Wincor Nixdorf Portavis GmbH, Wendenstrasse 21, 20097 Hamburg, Germany [Field not mapped to EPrints] DB - Scopus [Field not mapped to EPrints]
Uncontrolled keywords: Comets: individual: 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Methods: observational, Solar system, 67p/churyumov-gerasimenko, Broadband imaging, Comets: individual: 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Formation and evolutions, Heliocentric distances, Methods:observational, Surface brightness, Visible spectroscopy, Dust
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Faculties > Sciences > School of Physical Sciences > Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences
Depositing User: Stephen Lowry
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 22:07 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 16:29 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/52273 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Rożek, A.: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2341-2238
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