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See detailThe dust environment of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from Rosetta OSIRIS and VLT observations in the 4.5 to 2.9 AU heliocentric distance range inbound
Moreno, F.; Snodgrass, C.; Hainaut, O. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 587

Context. The ESA Rosetta spacecraft, currently orbiting around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, has already provided in situ measurements of the dust grain properties from several instruments,particularly ... [more ▼]

Context. The ESA Rosetta spacecraft, currently orbiting around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, has already provided in situ measurements of the dust grain properties from several instruments,particularly OSIRIS and GIADA. We propose adding value to those measurements by combining them with ground-based observations of the dust tail to monitor the overall, time-dependent dust-production rate and size distribution. <BR /> Aims: To constrain the dust grain properties, we take Rosetta OSIRIS and GIADA results into account, and combine OSIRIS data during the approach phase (from late April to early June 2014) with a large data set of ground-based images that were acquired with the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) from February to November 2014. <BR /> Methods: A Monte Carlo dust tail code, which has already been used to characterise the dust environments of several comets and active asteroids, has been applied to retrieve the dust parameters. Key properties of the grains (density, velocity, and size distribution) were obtained from Rosetta observations: these parameters were used as input of the code to considerably reduce the number of free parameters. In this way, the overall dust mass-loss rate and its dependence on the heliocentric distance could be obtained accurately. <BR /> Results: The dust parameters derived from the inner coma measurements by OSIRIS and GIADA and from distant imaging using VLT data are consistent, except for the power index of the size-distribution function, which is α = -3, instead of α = -2, for grains smaller than 1 mm. This is possibly linked to the presence of fluffy aggregates in the coma. The onset of cometary activity occurs at approximately 4.3 AU, with a dust production rate of 0.5 kg/s, increasing up to 15 kg/s at 2.9 AU. This implies a dust-to-gas mass ratio varying between 3.8 and 6.5 for the best-fit model when combined with water-production rates from the MIRO experiment. [less ▲]

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See detailCastalia — A Mission to a Main Belt Comet
Jones, G. H.; Altwegg, K.; Bertini, I. et al

in LPI (2015, January 01), 1829

Main Belt Comets (MBCs) are a newly identified class of solar system object, having asteroid-like orbits but sometimes exhibiting comet-like behavior. We present the case for a mission to an MBC, to be ... [more ▼]

Main Belt Comets (MBCs) are a newly identified class of solar system object, having asteroid-like orbits but sometimes exhibiting comet-like behavior. We present the case for a mission to an MBC, to be submitted to the European Space Agency. [less ▲]

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See detailThe activity cycle of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Snodgrass, C.; Barrera, L.; Boehnhardt, H. et al

in Muinonen, Karri (Ed.) Asteroids, Comets, Meteors - Book of Abstracts (2014, July 01)

We present ground-based observations of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, target of the Rosetta mission, and an assessment on its activity levels. Based on imaging in the R-band, we measure the brightness ... [more ▼]

We present ground-based observations of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, target of the Rosetta mission, and an assessment on its activity levels. Based on imaging in the R-band, we measure the brightness of the coma within various apertures and use this to assess the amount of dust in the coma. We find that the comet begins to show detectable activity at a pre-perihelion distance from the Sun of 4.3 au, and then shows a smooth increase in production to a peak around one month after perihelion passage. The behaviour of the comet is consistent from one orbit to another, based on archival images taken over three apparitions, and we therefore use the heliocentric lightcurve to make predictions for the 2014/5 period while Rosetta is operating at the comet. We find that the Afρ parameter, measured within an aperture of radius 10,000 km at the comet, is proportional to r^{-3.2}, pre-perihelion [1]. We also attempt to make predictions on the gas production rate by fitting a model to the observed brightness values. This is done by assuming various parameters about the nucleus and dust, many of which are reasonably well constrained for 67P, and solving an energy balance equation that gives the sublimation rate of various ices as a function of solar illumination [2]. The model then links the gas production rate to the total amount of dust in the coma, and its brightness. We find that only a small fraction of the surface area (1.4 %) needs to be active for water sublimation, with an extra peak (up to 4 %) for a month either side of perihelion, while an even smaller area is producing CO_2 (0.04-0.09 %) [1]. The predictions can now be tested against new observations, and we will present the latest results from our 2014 monitoring of 67P. We are performing regular R-band imaging on the comet using the VLT, and early indications in March 2014 indicate that the comet does appear to have returned to activity as expected. By the time of the ACM meeting we will have around 4 months of imaging to make a clear assessment of the trend between 4.4 and 3.8 au, which will allow a comparison with our model and therefore predictions to be made of how well 67P appears to be following its previous activity pattern. By July, we will also have obtained the first of a series of VLT/FORS visible wavelength spectra, to make a direct search for gas emission lines. These will represent some of the most distant spectroscopic observations of a Jupiter family comet coma. Preliminary results will be shown from these spectra, which will also constrain the expected evolution of activity as Rosetta approaches the comet. [less ▲]

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See detailEPOXI: Comet 103P/Hartley 2 Observations from a Worldwide Campaign
Meech, K. J.; A'Hearn, M. F.; Adams, J. A. et al

in Astrophysical Journal (2011), 734(Letters), 11-9

Earth- and space-based observations provide synergistic information for space mission encounters by providing data over longer timescales, at different wavelengths and using techniques that are impossible ... [more ▼]

Earth- and space-based observations provide synergistic information for space mission encounters by providing data over longer timescales, at different wavelengths and using techniques that are impossible with an in situ flyby. We report here such observations in support of the EPOXI spacecraft flyby of comet 103P/Hartley 2. The nucleus is small and dark, and exhibited a very rapidly changing rotation period. Prior to the onset of activity, the period was ~16.4 hr. Starting in 2010 August the period changed from 16.6 hr to near 19 hr in December. With respect to dust composition, most volatiles and carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios, the comet is similar to other Jupiter-family comets. What is unusual is the dominance of CO[SUB]2[/SUB]-driven activity near perihelion, which likely persists out to aphelion. Near perihelion the comet nucleus was surrounded by a large halo of water-ice grains that contributed significantly to the total water production. [less ▲]

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See detailESO Spectrophotometry of Comet 9P/Tempel 1
Weiler, M.; Rauer, H.; Sterken, C. et al

in Käufl, H. U.; Sterken, C. (Eds.) Deep Impact as a World Observatory Event: Synergies in Space, Time, and Wavelength (2009)

The Deep Impact target comet 9P/Tempel 1 was observed by means of long-slit spectroscopy from two nights before impact up to eight nights after impact, using the ESO VLT UT1, UT2, and ESO NTT telescopes ... [more ▼]

The Deep Impact target comet 9P/Tempel 1 was observed by means of long-slit spectroscopy from two nights before impact up to eight nights after impact, using the ESO VLT UT1, UT2, and ESO NTT telescopes. Spectra covering the complete optical wavelength range were obtained, and information at different position angles in the coma was collected. The data were used to study the gas and dust activity of comet 9P/Tempel 1. Gas production rates before and after impact and the amount of material in the impact cloud were determined. The pre-impact Afρ parameter, the dust production rate and the dust-to-gas mass ratio were derived. A variation of the cometary gas activity with rotation of the nucleus was detected. A difference in the variation of the brightness of the CN gas emission band compared to the variation of the emissions by C_2, C_3, and NH_2 in the inner coma suggests compositional differences between different parts of the surface of comet 9P/Tempel 1's nucleus. [less ▲]

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See detailDynamical Modeling of the Deep Impact Dust Ejecta Cloud
Bonev, T.; Ageorges, N.; Bagnulo, S. et al

in Käufl, H. U.; Sterken, C. (Eds.) Deep Impact as a World Observatory Event: Synergies in Space, Time, and Wavelength (2009)

The collision of Deep Impact with comet 9P/Tempel 1 generated a bright cloud of dust which dissipated during several days after the impact. The brightness variations of this cloud and the changes of its ... [more ▼]

The collision of Deep Impact with comet 9P/Tempel 1 generated a bright cloud of dust which dissipated during several days after the impact. The brightness variations of this cloud and the changes of its position and shape are governed by the physical properties of the dust grains. We use a Monte Carlo model to describe the evolution of the post-impact dust plume. The results of our dynamical simulations are compared to the data obtained with FORS2footnote{FORS stands for \underline{FO}cal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph for the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).} to derive the particle size distribution and the total amount of material contained in the dust ejecta cloud. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Dusty View of DI from ESO Chile
Boehnhardt, H.; Ageorges, N.; Bagnulo, S. et al

in Käufk, H. U.; Sterken, C. (Eds.) Deep Impact as a World Observatory Event: Synergies in Space, Time, and Wavelength (2009)

Around the time of the impact of NASA's Deep Impact (DI) mission at comet 9P/Tempel 1, in total 6 telescopes with altogether 7 different instruments, located at the La Silla (LSO) and Paranal (VLT ... [more ▼]

Around the time of the impact of NASA's Deep Impact (DI) mission at comet 9P/Tempel 1, in total 6 telescopes with altogether 7 different instruments, located at the La Silla (LSO) and Paranal (VLT) Observatories of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile, were used to characterize the dust properties before and after the event. The ejecta cloud expanded at an average speed of about 200 ms[SUP]-1[/SUP]during the first hours after the event. It reached stagnation distance of 25000 km about 3 days after impact. The pre-impact dust jet and fan activity (`porcupine' pattern) remained undisturbed after impact. In our measurements the jet activity can be traced to a few 100 km nucleus distance. In total 9 comastructures are identified which may originate from at least 4 regions of enhanced dust emission on the nucleus - one of this region may in fact be multiple. No obvious signatures of a new active region created by DI are found. The overall dust production during the impact compares to about 5-10 h of normal activity. The global expansion geometry of the DI cloud is compatible with a majority of dust grains in the micron size range. Indications exist for asymmetric brightness and colour distributions of the dust in the ejecta cloud. The dust temperature rose from about 280-290 K before to 330 K one day after the event and fell to pre-impact level the day thereafter. The dust reflected sunlight was found to be linearly polarized at about 7.5% in the visible and near-IR, at constant level within about 4000 km from the nucleus. No circular polarization of the dust is detected. [less ▲]

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See detailOptical Spectroscopy of the B and C Fragments of Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 at the ESO VLT
Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Manfroid, Jean ULg; Kawakita, H. et al

in LPI contribution 1405 (2008)

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See detailComet C/2006 P1 (McNaught)
Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Manfroid, Jean ULg; Snodgrass, C. et al

in Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams (CBETs) (2007), 832

CBET 832 available at Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams.

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See detailComet C/2006 P1 (McNaught)
Snodgrass, C.; Fitzsimmons, A.; Hainaut, O. et al

in Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams (CBETs) (2007), 832

CBET 832 available at Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams.

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See detailObservations of comet McNaught from La Silla
Snodgrass, C.; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Fitzsimmons, A. et al

Poster (2007)

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See detailObservations of CN and dust activity of comet 9P/Tempel 1 around Deep Impact
Rauer, H.; Weiler, M.; Sterken, C. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2006), 459

Aims.We present observations of CN emission and the scattered solar light on cometary dust particles around the impact time of the Deep Space spacecraft (NASA) into the nucleus of comet 9P/Tempel 1. The ... [more ▼]

Aims.We present observations of CN emission and the scattered solar light on cometary dust particles around the impact time of the Deep Space spacecraft (NASA) into the nucleus of comet 9P/Tempel 1. The purpose of the observations was to compare post-impact activity to the conditions pre-impact to search for new spectral emission lines after impact, to quantify the increase in gas activity due to the impact and to study the long-term activity changes.<BR /> Methods: .We performed long-slit spectroscopy observations of comet 9P/Tempel 1 at the VLT, ESO, using the FORS instruments from July 2 to July 12, 2005. A wavelengths range of 370-920 nm was covered using two grisms. Four different position angle settings of the slit were applied each night with the projected Sun-comet line as standard setting, for which we report results here.<BR /> Results: .The optical spectra of comet 9P/Tempel 1 showed the usual emission bands in the optical wavelengths range of the radicals: CN, C3, C2 and NH2. No new emission bands were detected after impact. The ejecta cloud of gas and dust caused by the impacting spacecraft into the cometary nucleus could be followed over the observing period. The projected expansion velocities have been determined. The night after impact we observed about (3.9 ± 1.2) × 10[SUP]29[/SUP] molecules of the CN parent in the ejected cloud. However, after five days the appearance of the gas and dust coma was back to pre-impact conditions. <BR /> [less ▲]

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See detailObservations of Comet 73P/SW3 close to its closest approach to the Earth.
Tozzi, G. P.; Bagnulo, S.; Boehnhardt, H. et al

in European Planetary Science Congress 2006 (2006)

In May 2006 comet 73P/SW3 passed at less than 0.1 AU from Earth providing us an unique opportunity for high spatial resolution study of its coma. This event was expected to be particularly interesting ... [more ▼]

In May 2006 comet 73P/SW3 passed at less than 0.1 AU from Earth providing us an unique opportunity for high spatial resolution study of its coma. This event was expected to be particularly interesting because the comet had broken apart in 3-4 fragments in 1996. The 2006 apparition has been even more interesting because the fragments produced in 1996, when approaching the Sun, were continuously breaking apart. This process resulted in many small sub-fragments and in the injection in the coma of fresh material, coming from the interior of the nuclei, giving the possibility to study this uncontaminated material. The breaking fragments have been observed at ESO in the visible and near-IR with the aim of analyzing this fresh solid component of the coma in search of possible presence of organic solids. In the presentation we will report preliminary results of this campaign. [less ▲]

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See detailDeep Impact: Observations from a Worldwide Earth-Based Campaign
Meech, K. J.; Ageorges, N.; A'Hearn, M. F. et al

in Science (2005), 310

On 4 July 2005, many observatories around the world and in space observed the collision of Deep Impact with comet 9P/Tempel 1 or its aftermath. This was an unprecedented coordinated observational campaign ... [more ▼]

On 4 July 2005, many observatories around the world and in space observed the collision of Deep Impact with comet 9P/Tempel 1 or its aftermath. This was an unprecedented coordinated observational campaign. These data show that (i) there was new material after impact that was compositionally different from that seen before impact; (ii) the ratio of dust mass to gas mass in the ejecta was much larger than before impact; (iii) the new activity did not last more than a few days, and by 9 July the comet's behavior was indistinguishable from its pre-impact behavior; and (iv) there were interesting transient phenomena that may be correlated with cratering physics. [less ▲]

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See detailThe deep impact campaign at ESO: the gas component
Rauer, H.; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Manfroid, Jean ULg et al

Poster (2005)

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See detailComet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) at its closest approach to the Earth
Tozzi, G. P.; Boehnhardt, H.; Del Bo, M. et al

in American Astronomical Society, DPS meeting #36 (2004, November 01)

Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) was observed at ESO (La Silla) for three consecutive nights at the beginning of May, 2004 at its closest approach to Earth. The observations consisted of quasi-simultaneous multi ... [more ▼]

Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) was observed at ESO (La Silla) for three consecutive nights at the beginning of May, 2004 at its closest approach to Earth. The observations consisted of quasi-simultaneous multi-wavelength exposures in the visible, near-IR and thermal-IR in order to study different properties of the solid component that are responsible for the scattering and emission of radiation in different spectral ranges. The comet was observed with the 3.6m telescope, equipped with TIMMI2 for the thermal-IR region, the NTT, equipped with EMMI and SOFI for the visible and near-IR regions. Narrow band images and long slit spectra were recorded for each spectral region. In the near-IR range, polarimetric observations were also performed during the last night. The aim of the observations was the characterization of the solid component at small scalelength to search for possible short lifetime organic components, as those found in the comet C/2000 WM1 (Tozzi et al., 2004, A&A, 424, 235), dust fragmentation etc.. Here we report preliminary results of the analysis of these observations. [less ▲]

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See detailLong-term optical spectrophotometric monitoring of comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp)
Rauer, H.; Helbert, J.; Arpigny, Claude ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2003), 397

We observed comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp) at 4.6-2.9 AU pre-perihelion and 2.8-12.8 AU post-perihelion with optical long-slit spectroscopy. Emission bands of CN, C[SUB]3[/SUB], C[SUB]2[/SUB] and NH[SUB]2 ... [more ▼]

We observed comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp) at 4.6-2.9 AU pre-perihelion and 2.8-12.8 AU post-perihelion with optical long-slit spectroscopy. Emission bands of CN, C[SUB]3[/SUB], C[SUB]2[/SUB] and NH[SUB]2[/SUB] have been covered. Emission of C[SUB]3[/SUB] was detected up to 7.0 AU, and CN could be followed up to 9.8 AU post-perihelion. Spatial column density profiles of the radicals have been used to derive effective parent Haser scale lengths for heliocentric distances beyond 3 AU. Production rates were derived based on these Haser scale lengths. The observations of CN are in agreement with HCN as the major parent molecule of this radical at large distances from the Sun (i.e. beyond ~ 3 AU). We compare the measured CN production rate to sublimation rates of HCN from a simple nucleus sublimation model. The variation of CN production rates with changing heliocentric distance gives no indication for sublimation from the interior and is consistent with very little thermal lag of the nucleus. Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile, and the Observatoire de Haute Provence, France. [less ▲]

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See detailPost-perihelion coma monitoring of comet Hale-Bopp at ESO
Boehnhardt, H.; Bonfils, X.; Petit, Y. et al

in Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors: ACM 2002 (2002, November 01)

The post-perihelion coma activity of Comet C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp is monitored at ESO telescopes in La Silla and Paranal since Sept. 1997. Imaging through broadband filters in the visible and near-IR ... [more ▼]

The post-perihelion coma activity of Comet C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp is monitored at ESO telescopes in La Silla and Paranal since Sept. 1997. Imaging through broadband filters in the visible and near-IR wavelength ranges allows to investigate the evolution of the dust coma, namely the appearance of jets, fans, shells and clouds. Long-term evolution: the comet had a porcupine-like embedded fan coma in autumn 1997 that evolved into a northern fan plus shell pattern in 1998 and remains like this since. Thus, the evolution of the coma structure post-perihelion was similar to that pre-perihelion at about the same heliocentric distances, but is occurred in reversed order. This long-term evolution can be characterized by quasi-continuous dust emission from a few (minimum 4) active regions (producing the fan structures) on the nucleus that is modulated by occasional, repetitive and short-term activity increases (generating shell features in the coma). Outbursts: a number of outbursts and unusual activity patterns occurred in the coma of the comet post-perihelion that are documented through the appearance of complex "palm-tree-like" structures of temporary nature in association with outbursts in the visual lightcurve of the comet and a series of 3 dust clouds resembling "mini-comets" and passing through the northern coma at projected velocities of 30-50m/s. The similarity of coma patterns and cometary viewing geometry from Earth before and after perihelion suggests that some nuclear regions had enhanced long-term activity, possibly driven by super-volatile ices at larger (>10AU) heliocentric distances and that the orientation of the rotation axis of the nucleus did not change much over the past 7 years. [less ▲]

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See detailComet C/2001 A2 (LINEAR)
Schuetz, O.; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Bonfils, X. et al

in International Astronomical Union Circulars [=IAUCs] (2001), 7656

IAUC 7656 available at Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams.

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See detailSpectrophotometric Monitoring of Comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp): Pre- and Post-Perihelion
Rauer, H.; Helbert, J.; Arpigny, Claude ULg et al

in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society (1998, September 01)

Spectrophotometric observations of comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp) were performed at the European Southern Observatory (ESO), Chile. From April to September 1996 its gaseous activity was monitored over a ... [more ▼]

Spectrophotometric observations of comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp) were performed at the European Southern Observatory (ESO), Chile. From April to September 1996 its gaseous activity was monitored over a heliocentric distance range from 4.6 AU to 2.9 AU. The monitoring is continued on Hale-Bopp's outbound path since September 1997 and covers up to now 3 AU to 5 AU heliocentric distance. Medium resolution spectra in the optical wavelength range from about 350 nm to 700 nm were taken at the 1.54m Danish and the 1.52m ESO telescope. Emission bands of the CN, C_3, C_2 and NH_2 radicals can be followed over the comet's orbit. We will present a first analysis of the post-perihelion activity evolution and compare to the pre-perihelion path. Currently, at 4.7 AU on the outbound path, we still see emission of CN, C_3, C_2 and NH_2. The production rate of CN showed a sudden increase around this heliocentric distance pre-perihelion (Rauer et al., Science 275, 1909). The post-perihelion activity evolution of CN and the other observed radicals in this distance range will be evaluated. [less ▲]

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