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Sublimation-Driven Activity in Main-Belt Comet 313p/Gibbs

Hsieh, Henry H. and Hainaut, Olivier and Novaković, Bojan and Bolin, Bryce and Denneau, Larry and Fitzsimmons, Alan and Haghighipou, Nader and Kleyna, Jan and Kokotanekova, Rosita and Lacerda, Pedro and Meech, Karen J. and Micheli, Marco and Moskovits, Nick and Schunova, Eva and Snodgrass, Colin and Wainscoat, Richard J. and Wasserman, Lawrence and Waszczak, Adam (2015) Sublimation-Driven Activity in Main-Belt Comet 313p/Gibbs. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 800 (1). Art. No. L16. ISSN 2041-8205.

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We present an observational and dynamical study of newly discovered main-belt comet 313P/Gibbs. We find that the object is clearly active both in observations obtained in 2014 and in precovery observations obtained in 2003 by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, strongly suggesting that its activity is sublimation-driven. This conclusion is supported by a photometric analysis showing an increase in the total brightness of the comet over the 2014 observing period, and dust modeling results showing that the dust emission persists over at least three months during both active periods, where we find start dates for emission no later than 2003 July 24 ± 10 for the 2003 active period and 2014 July 28 ± 10 for the 2014 active period. From serendipitous observations by the Subaru Telescope in 2004 when the object was apparently inactive, we estimate that the nucleus has an absolute R-band magnitude of H_R = 17.1 ± 0.3, corresponding to an effective nucleus radius of r_e ~ 1.00 ± 0.15 km. The object's faintness at that time means we cannot rule out the presence of activity, and so this computed radius should be considered an upper limit. We find that 313P's orbit is intrinsically chaotic, having a Lyapunov time of T_l = 12,000 yr and being located near two three-body mean-motion resonances with Jupiter and Saturn, 11J-1S-5A and 10J+12S-7A, yet appears stable over >50 Myr in an apparent example of stable chaos. We furthermore find that 313P is the second main-belt comet, after P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS), to belong to the ~155 Myr old Lixiaohua asteroid family.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Bolin, Bryce0000-0002-4950-6323
Meech, Karen J.0000-0002-2058-5670
Micheli, Marco0000-0001-7895-8209
Wainscoat, Richard J.0000-0002-1341-0952
Additional Information:© 2015 American Astronomical Society. Received 2014 December 16; accepted 2015 January 15; published 2015 February 12. H.H.H. and N.H. acknowledge support from the NASA Planetary Astronomy program (grant NNX14AJ38G). K.J.M. and J.K. acknowledge support from the NASA Astrobiology Institute under Cooperative Agreement NNA09DA77A issued through the Office of Space Science. B.N. is supported by the Ministry of Science of Serbia, Project 176011. This research utilized Palomar Observatory’s Hale Telescope, the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network’s Faulkes Telescopes, Lowell Observatory’s Discovery Channel Telescope, the University of Hawaii 2.2 m telescope, ESO’s La Silla Observatory (PID 194.C-0207), and the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre operated by the National Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Space Agency. SDSS ( is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, NSF, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, NASA, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, the Max Planck Society, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions. The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys were made possible by the Institute for Astronomy, the University of Hawaii, the Pan-STARRS Project Office, the Max-Planck Society, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Johns Hopkins University, Durham University, the University of Edinburgh, the Queen’s University Belfast, the Harvard- Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network Incorporated, the National Central University of Taiwan, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Planetary Science Division of the NASA Science Mission Directorate (grant NNX08AR22G), the National Science Foundation (grant AST-1238877), and the University of Maryland. We thank the PS1 Builders and operations staff for PS1ʼs construction and operation and access to PS1 data.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Ministry of Science (Serbia)176011
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
University of MarylandUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords: comets: general; comets: individual (313P&Gibbs); minor planets, asteroids: general
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150309-135613102
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Official Citation:Sublimation-Driven Activity in Main-Belt Comet 313p/Gibbs Henry H. Hsieh et al. 2015 ApJ 800 L16
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:55645
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:09 Mar 2015 21:26
Last Modified:31 Oct 2019 02:23

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