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Title: MULTI-WAVELENGTH OBSERVATIONS OF COMET C/2011 L4 (PAN-STARRS)

The dynamically new comet C/2011 L4 (Pan-STARRS) is one of the brightest comets observed since the great comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp). Here, we present our multi-wavelength observations of C/2011 L4 during its in-bound passage to the inner solar system. A strong absorption band of water ice at 2.0 μm was detected in the near-infrared spectra, obtained with the 8 m Gemini-North and 3 m Infrared Telescope Facility Telescopes. The companion 1.5 μm band of water ice, however, was not observed. Spectral modeling shows that the absence of the 1.5 μm feature can be explained by the presence of sub-micron-sized fine ice grains. No gas lines (i.e., CN, HCN, or CO) were observed pre-perihelion in either the optical or the submillimeter. We derived 3σ upper limits for the CN and CO production rates. The comet exhibited a very strong continuum in the optical and its slope seemed to become redder as the comet approached the Sun. Our observations suggest that C/2011 L4 is an unusually dust-rich comet with a dust-to-gas mass ratio >4.
Authors:
; ;  [1] ; ;  [2]
  1. NASA Astrobiology Institute, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822 (United States)
  2. Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22365947
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 784; 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; ABSORPTION; CARBON MONOXIDE; CARBON NITRIDES; COMETS; HYDROCYANIC ACID; ICE; INFRARED SPECTRA; MASS; SOLAR SYSTEM; SUN; TELESCOPES; WATER