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Title: PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF SOHO/STEREO OBSERVATIONS OF SUNGRAZING COMET ISON (C/2012 S1) AROUND PERIHELION

We present photometric and morphological analysis of the behavior of sungrazing comet C/2012 S1 ISON in Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) images around its perihelion on 2013 November 28.779 UT. ISON brightened gradually November 20-26 with a superimposed outburst on November 21.3-23.5. The slope of brightening changed about November 26.7 and was significantly steeper in SOHO's orange and clear filter images until November 27.9 when it began to flatten out, reaching a peak about November 28.1 (r {sub H} ≈ 17 R {sub ☉}), then fading before brightening again from November 28.6 (r {sub H} ≈ 5 R {sub ☉}) until disappearing behind the occulting disk. ISON brightened continuously as it approached perihelion while visible in all other telescopes/filters. The central condensation disappeared about November 28.5 and the leading edge became progressively more elongated until perihelion. These photometric and morphological behaviors are reminiscent of the tens of meter-sized Kreutz comets regularly observed by SOHO and STEREO and strongly suggest that the nucleus of ISON was destroyed prior to perihelion. This is much too small to support published gas production rates and implies significant mass loss and/or disruption in the days and weeks leading upmore » to perihelion. No central condensation was seen post-perihelion. The post-perihelion lightcurve was nearly identical in all telescopes/filters and fell slightly steeper than r{sub H}{sup −2}. This implies that the brightness was dominated by reflected solar continuum off of remnant dust in the coma/tail and that any remaining active nucleus was <10 m in radius.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Lowell Observatory, 1400 W. Mars Hill Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001 (United States)
  2. Naval Research Laboratory-Code 7685, 4555 Overlook Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20375 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22363968
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 782; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; BRIGHTNESS; COMETS; COSMIC DUST; DATA ANALYSIS; FILTERS; IMAGES; INTERSTITIAL HELIUM GENERATION; INTERSTITIAL HYDROGEN GENERATION; MASS TRANSFER; PHOTOMETRY; STELLAR WINDS; TELESCOPES