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Far-UV phase dependence and surface characteristics of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as observed with Rosetta Alice

Abstract : The Alice far-ultraviolet (FUV) spectrograph onboard Rosetta has, for the first time, imaged the surface of a comet, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P), in the FUV. With spatially resolved data, the nucleus properties are characterized in the FUV, including phase dependence, albedo, and spectral slope. Regional measurements across the nucleus are compared to discern any compositional variations. Methods. Hapke theory was utilized to model the phase dependence of the material on the surface of 67P. The phase dependence of 67P was derived from a subset of data acquired at various phase angles in November 2014, within 50 km of the comet such that the nucleus was spatially resolved. The derived photometric correction was then applied to a different subset of spatially resolved data sampling several distinct geographical regions on the nucleus acquired in August−November 2014 under similar viewing geometries. Results. In the FUV, the surface of 67P is dark, blue sloped, has an average geometric albedo of 0.054±0.008 at 1475 Å near the center of the Alice bandpass, and is mostly uniform from region to region, with the exception of the Hatmehit region, which is slightly more reflective. These results are consistent with the suggestion made by the Rosetta OSIRIS and VIRTIS teams that the surface of 67P is covered with a homogeneous layer of material and that surface ice is not ubiquitous in large abundances. The modeled Hapke parameters, specifically the single scattering albedo (w) and the asymmetry factor (ζ), are determined to be 0.031 ± 0.003 and −0.530 ± 0.025 near the center of the Alice bandpass at 1475 Å. These parameters are consistent with measurements of other comet nuclei that have been observed by flyby missions in the visible and the near-infrared regimes.
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Lori M. Feaga, Silvia Protopapa, Eric Schindhelm, S.A. Stern, Michael F. A'Hearn, et al.. Far-UV phase dependence and surface characteristics of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as observed with Rosetta Alice. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2015, 583, A27 (11 p.). ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201526671⟩. ⟨insu-01220011⟩



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