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The Perihelion Emission of Comet C/2010 L5 (WISE)

Kramer, E. A. and Bauer, J. M. and Fernandez, Y. R. and Stevenson, R. and Mainzer, A. K. and Grav, T. and Masiero, J. and Nugent, C. and Sonnett, S. (2017) The Perihelion Emission of Comet C/2010 L5 (WISE). Astrophysical Journal, 838 (1). Art. No. 58. ISSN 1538-4357.

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The only Halley-type comet discovered by the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), C/2010 L5 (WISE), was imaged three times by WISE, and it showed a significant dust tail during the second and third visits (2010 June and July, respectively). We present here an analysis of the data collected by WISE, putting estimates on the comet's size, dust production rate, gas production (CO+CO_2) rate, and active fraction. We also present a detailed description of a novel tail-fitting technique that allows the commonly used syndyne–synchrone models to be used analytically, thereby giving more robust results. We find that C/2010 L5's dust tail was likely formed by strong emission, likely in the form of an outburst, occurring when the comet was within a few days of perihelion. Analyses of the June and July data independently agree on this result. The two separate epochs of dust tail analysis independently suggest a strong emission event close to perihelion. The average size of the dust particles in the dust tail increased between the epochs, suggesting that the dust was primarily released in a short period of time, and the smaller dust particles were quickly swept away by solar radiation pressure, leaving the larger particles behind. The difference in CO_2 and dust production rates measured in 2010 June and July is not consistent with "normal" steady-state gas production from a comet at these heliocentric distances, suggesting that much of the detected CO_2 and dust was produced in an episodic event. Together, these conclusions suggest that C/2010 L5 experienced a significant outburst event when the comet was close to perihelion.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Kramer, E. A.0000-0003-0457-2519
Grav, T.0000-0002-3379-0534
Masiero, J.0000-0003-2638-720X
Sonnett, S.0000-0003-2762-8909
Additional Information:© 2017 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2015 July 7; revised 2017 January 27; accepted 2017 February 6; published 2017 March 23. This publication makes use of data products from NEOWISE, which is a project of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. E.K. gratefully acknowledges funding support from the NASA Postdoctoral Program.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Postdoctoral ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:comets: general – comets: individual (C/2010 L5 (WISE))
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170324-143454235
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:E. A. Kramer et al 2017 ApJ 838 58
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:75396
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:24 Mar 2017 22:11
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 16:50

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