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Lingering Grains of Truth around Comet 17P/Holmes

Stevenson, R. and Bauer, J. M. and Kramer, E. A. and Grav, T. and Mainzer, A. K. and Masiero, J. R. (2014) Lingering Grains of Truth around Comet 17P/Holmes. Astrophysical Journal, 787 (2). Art. No. 116. ISSN 0004-637X.

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Comet 17P/Holmes underwent a massive outburst in 2007 October, brightening by a factor of almost a million in under 48 hr. We used infrared images taken by the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer mission to characterize the comet as it appeared at a heliocentric distance of 5.1 AU almost 3 yr after the outburst. The comet appeared to be active with a coma and dust trail along the orbital plane. We constrained the diameter, albedo, and beaming parameter of the nucleus to 4.135 ± 0.610 km, 0.03 ± 0.01, and 1.03 ± 0.21, respectively. The properties of the nucleus are consistent with those of other Jupiter family comets. The best-fit temperature of the coma was 134 ± 11 K, slightly higher than the blackbody temperature at that heliocentric distance. Using Finson-Probstein modeling, we found that the morphology of the trail was consistent with ejection during the 2007 outburst and was made up of dust grains between 250 μm and a few cm in radius. The trail mass was ~1.2-5.3 × 10^(10) kg.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Kramer, E. A.0000-0003-0457-2519
Grav, T. 0000-0002-3379-0534
Masiero, J. R.0000-0003-2638-720X
Additional Information:© 2014 American Astronomical Society. Received 2013 June 7; accepted 2014 April 2; published 2014 May 9. This publication makes use of data products from the Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer and NEOWISE, which is a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. R.S. acknowledges support from the NASA Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. E.K. was supported by the JPL Graduate Fellowship Program and the NASA Earth and Space Sciences Fellowship program. This research was funded in part by a grant from NASA through the Near Earth Object Observations Program for the NEOWISE project, and was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Postdoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
JPL Graduate Fellowship ProgramUNSPECIFIED
NASA Earth and Space Sciences Fellowship ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:comets: general; comets: individual (17P/Holmes)
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140619-114604288
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Official Citation:Lingering Grains of Truth around Comet 17P/Holmes R. Stevenson et al. 2014 ApJ 787 116
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:46361
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:19 Jun 2014 20:31
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 06:43

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