Sublimation of icy aggregates in the coma of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko detected with the OSIRIS cameras on board Rosetta.

A. Gicquel 1 J.-B. Vincent 1 J. Agarwal 1 Michael F. A'Hearn 2 I. Bertini 3 D. Bodewits 2 H. Sierks 1 Z.-Y. Lin 4 C. Barbieri 5 P. L. Lamy 6 R. Rodrigo 7, 8 D. Koschny 9 H. Rickman 10, 11 H. U. Keller 12 M. A. Barucci 13 Jean-Loup Bertaux 14 S. Besse 15 G. Cremonese 16 V. Da Deppo 17 B. Davidsson 11 S. Debei 18 J. Deller 1 M. de Cecco 19 E. Frattin 16 M. R. El-Maarry 20 S. Fornasier 13 M. Fulle 21 O. Groussin 6 P. J. Gutiérrez 22 P. Gutiérrez-Marquez 1 C. Güttler 1 S. Höfner 1, 12 M. Hofmann 1 X. Hu 1 S. F. Hviid 23 W.-H. Ip 4 L. Jorda 6 J. Knollenberg 23 G. Kovacs 24, 1 J.-R. Kramm 1 E. Kührt 23 M. Küppers 25 L. M. Lara 22 M. Lazzarin 5 J. J. Lopez Moreno 22 S. Lowry 26 F. Marzari 5 N. Masoumzadeh 1 M. Massironi 3 F. Moreno 22 S. Mottola 23 G. Naletto 3, 27, 17 N. Oklay 1 M. Pajola 3 A. Pommerol 20 F. Preusker 23 F. Scholten 23 X. Shi 1 N. Thomas 20 I. Toth 6, 27 C. Tubiana 1
Abstract : Beginning in March 2014, the OSIRIS (Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System) cameras began capturing images of the nucleus and coma (gas and dust) of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko using both the wide angle camera (WAC) and the narrow angle camera (NAC). The many observations taken since July of 2014 have been used to study the morphology, location, and temporal variation of the comet’s dust jets. We analyzed the dust monitoring observations shortly after the southern vernal equinox on May 30 and 31, 2015 with the WAC at the heliocentric distance Rh = 1.53 AU, where it is possible to observe that the jet rotates with the nucleus. We found that the decline of brightness as a function of the distance of the jet is much steeper than the background coma, which is a first indication of sublimation. We adapted a model of sublimation of icy aggregates and studied the effect as a function of the physical properties of the aggregates (composition and size). The major finding of this article was that through the sublimation of the aggregates of dirty grains (radius a between 5μm and 50μm) we were able to completely reproduce the radial brightness profile of a jet beyond 4 km from the nucleus. To reproduce the data we needed to inject a number of aggregates between 8.5 × 1013 and 8.5 × 1010 for a = 5μm and 50μm respectively, or an initial mass of H2O ice around 22kg.
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A. Gicquel, J.-B. Vincent, J. Agarwal, Michael F. A'Hearn, I. Bertini, et al.. Sublimation of icy aggregates in the coma of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko detected with the OSIRIS cameras on board Rosetta.. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy P - Oxford Open Option A, 2016, 462 (Suppl. 1), pp.S57-S66. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stw2117⟩. ⟨insu-01367966⟩

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