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Title: The evolving activity of the dynamically young comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd)

We used the Ultraviolet-Optical Telescope on board Swift to observe the dynamically young comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd) from a heliocentric distance of 3.5 AU pre-perihelion until 4.0 AU outbound. At 3.5 AU pre-perihelion, comet Garradd had one of the highest dust-to-gas ratios ever observed, matched only by comet Hale-Bopp. The evolving morphology of the dust in its coma suggests an outburst that ended around 2.2 AU pre-perihelion. Comparing slit-based measurements and observations acquired with larger fields of view indicated that between 3 AU and 2 AU pre-perihelion a significant extended source started producing water in the coma. We demonstrate that this source, which could be due to icy grains, disappeared quickly around perihelion. Water production by the nucleus may be attributed to a constantly active source of at least 75 km{sup 2}, estimated to be >20% of the surface. Based on our measurements, the comet lost 4 × 10{sup 11} kg of ice and dust during this apparition, corresponding to at most a few meters of its surface. Even though this was likely not the comet's first passage through the inner solar system, the activity of Garradd was complex and changed significantly during the time it was observed.
Authors:
; ; ; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-2421 (United States)
  2. Astronomy Department, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003 (United States)
  3. Lowell Observatory, 1400 West Mars Hill Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22356981
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 786; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; COMETS; DISTANCE; ICE; IMAGE PROCESSING; SOLAR SYSTEM; TELESCOPES; ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION; WATER