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Sunset jets observed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko sustained by subsurface thermal lag

Xian Shi 1 Xuan Hu 1 Holger Sierks 1 Carsten Güttler 1 Michael A’hearn 2 Jürgen Blum 3 Mohamed Ramy El-Maarry 4 Ekkehard Kührt 5 Stefano Mottola 5 Maurizio Pajola 6 Nilda Oklay 1 Sonia Fornasier 7 Cécilia Tubiana 1 Horst Uwe Keller 3 Jean-Baptiste Vincent 1 Dennis Bodewits 2 Sebastien Höfner 1 Zhong-Yi Lin 8 Adeline Gicquel 1 Marc Hofmann 1 Cesare Barbieri 9 Philippe Lamy 10 Rafael Rodrigo 11, 12 Detlief Koschny 13 Hans Rickman 14 Maria Antonella Barucci 7 Jean-Loup Bertaux 15 Ivano Bertini 6 Gabriele Cremonese 16 Vania da Deppo 17 Björn Davidsson 18 S. Debei 19 Mariolino de Cecco 20 Marco Fulle 21 O. Groussin 10 Pedro J. Gutiérrez 22 Stubbe F. Hviid 5 Wing-H. Ip 8 Laurent Jorda 10 Jörg Knollenberg 5 Gabor Kovacs 1 Jörg-Rainer Kramm 1 Michael Küppers 23 Luisa M. Lara 22 Monica Lazzarin 9 José J. Lopez-Moreno 22 F. Marzari 9 Giampiero Naletto 24, 6, 17 Nicolas Thomas 4
Abstract : We present observations of sunset jets on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by Rosetta/OSIRIS camera. In late April 2015, when the comet was at a heliocentric distance of ~1.8AU, clusters of dust jets that originated in the Ma’at region on the comet’s small lobe were identified from multipleimages and were apparently sustained for about an hour beyond local sunset. Emanating from the shadowed nucleus, these jets became visible by solar illumination at their apparent sources up to only a few tens of meters above the nucleus surface. We investigate the plausibility of these jets as having been triggered by water ice sublimation and sustained by thermal lag in the subsurface beyond sunset. A general thermo-physical model was parameterized such that the thermal lag in the subsurface is consistent with the elapsed time of observation after sunset. It is found that the sublimation of water ice from a depth of 6 mm and with a low thermal inertia of 50 W m-2 K-1 s1/2 could explain the spatial pattern and evolution of the apparent sources, particularly their disappearance due to the eventual cooling of the subsurface. Our analysis suggests that these sunset jets were essentially day-side dust activities that continued after sunset. Specific observational conditions for the sunset jets constrain their possible sources to mostly within the less abrupt, dusty terrains. The uneven distribution of these jets is possibly related to subsurface inhomogeneities in the dusty area.
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Xian Shi, Xuan Hu, Holger Sierks, Carsten Güttler, Michael A’hearn, et al.. Sunset jets observed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko sustained by subsurface thermal lag. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2016, 586, A7 (13 p.). ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201527123⟩. ⟨insu-01260243⟩



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