skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: HUBBLE AND KECK TELESCOPE OBSERVATIONS OF ACTIVE ASTEROID 288P/300163 (2006 VW139)

We present Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and Keck 10 m telescope observations of active asteroid 288P/300163 (2006 VW139) taken to examine ejected dust. The nucleus is a C-type object with absolute magnitude H{sub V} = 17.0 ± 0.1 and estimated diameter ∼2.6 km (for assumed visual geometric albedo p{sub V} = 0.04). Variations in the brightness of the nucleus at the 10%–15% level are significant in both 2011 December and 2012 October but we possess too few data to distinguish variations caused by activity from those caused by rotation. The dust scattering cross-section in 2011 December is ∼40 km{sup 2}, corresponding to a dust mass ∼9 × 10{sup 6} kg (88 μm mean particle radius assumed). The FWHM of the debris sheet varies from ∼100 km near the nucleus to ∼1000 km 30″ (40,000 km) east of it. Dust dynamical models indicate ejection speeds between 0.06 and 0.3 m s{sup −1}, particle sizes between 10 and 300 μm and an inverse square-root relation between particle size and velocity. Overall, the data are most simply explained by prolonged, low velocity ejection of dust, starting in or before 2011 July and continuing until at least 2011 October. These properties are consistent withmore » the sublimation of near-surface ice aided by centrifugal forces. The high spatial resolution of our HST images (52 km pixel{sup −1}) reveals details that remained hidden in previous ground-based observations, such as the extraordinarily small vertical extent of the dust sheet, ejection speeds well below the nucleus escape speed, and the possibility of a binary nucleus.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5]
  1. Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, D-37077 Göttingen (Germany)
  2. Department Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences, UCLA, 595 Charles Young Drive East, Box 951567 Los Angeles, CA 90095-1567 (United States)
  3. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, Laurel, MD 20723 (United States)
  4. Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States)
  5. Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, 1629 E. University Blvd. Tucson AZ 85721-0092 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22520036
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astronomical Journal (Online); Journal Volume: 151; 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; ALBEDO; ASTEROIDS; BRIGHTNESS; COMETS; COSMIC DUST; ICE; IMAGES; PARTICLE SIZE; PARTICLES; PLANETS; SPATIAL RESOLUTION; SUBLIMATION; TELESCOPES; VELOCITY