Skip to main content

Activity of comets at large heliocentric distances pre-perihelion

Meech, K.J., Pittichova, J., Bar-Nun, A., Notesco, G., Laufer, D., Hainaut, O.R., Lowry, S.C., Yeomans, D.K., Pitts, M. (2009) Activity of comets at large heliocentric distances pre-perihelion. Icarus, 201 (2). pp. 719-739. ISSN 0019-1035. (doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2008.12.045) (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/10.1016/j.icarus.2008.12.045

Abstract

We present observational data for two long-period and three dynamically new comets observed at heliocentric distances between 5.8 to 14.0 AU. All of the comets exhibited activity beyond the distance at which water ice sublimation can be significant. We have conducted experiments on gas-laden amorphous ice samples and show that considerable gas emission occurs when the ice is heated below the temperature of the amorphous-crystalline ice phase transition (T � 137 K). We propose that annealing of amorphous water ice is the driver of activity in comets as they first enter the inner Solar System. Experimental data show that large grains can be ejected at low velocity during annealing and that the rate of brightening of the comet should decrease as the heliocentric distance decreases. These results are consistent with both historical observations of distant comet activity and with the data presented here. If observations of the onset of activity in a dynamically new comet are ever made, the distance at which this occurs would be a sensitive indicator of the temperature at which the comet had formed or represents the maximum temperature that it has experienced. New surveys such as Pan STARRS, may be able to detect these comets while they are still inactive. © 2009 Elsevier Inc.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.icarus.2008.12.045
Additional information: Unmapped bibliographic data: LA - English [Field not mapped to EPrints] J2 - Icarus [Field not mapped to EPrints] AD - Univ. Hawai'i, Institute for Astronomy, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822, United States [Field not mapped to EPrints] AD - Tel Aviv University, Dept. of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, Tel Aviv, 69978, Israel [Field not mapped to EPrints] AD - European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago, 19, Chile [Field not mapped to EPrints] AD - Jet Propulsion Lab, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, United States [Field not mapped to EPrints] AD - Jet Propulsion Laboratory, MS 301-150, Pasadena, CA 91109-8099, United States [Field not mapped to EPrints] DB - Scopus [Field not mapped to EPrints]
Uncontrolled keywords: Comets, composition, Ices, origin, Photometry
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 22:55 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 16:29 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/52292 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):