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Seasonal mass transfer on the nucleus of comet 67P/Chuyumov-Gerasimenko
Deutsches Zentrum Luft & Raumfahrt DLR, Inst Planetenforsch Asteroiden & Kometen, Rutherfordstr 2, D-12489 Berlin, Germany;TU Braunschweig, Inst Geophys & Extraterrestr Phys, D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany.
Deutsches Zentrum Luft & Raumfahrt DLR, Inst Planetenforsch Asteroiden & Kometen, Rutherfordstr 2, D-12489 Berlin, Germany.
Deutsches Zentrum Luft & Raumfahrt DLR, Inst Planetenforsch Asteroiden & Kometen, Rutherfordstr 2, D-12489 Berlin, Germany.
Max Planck Inst Sonnensyst Forschung, Justus von Liebig Weg 3, D-37077 Gottingen, Germany.
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2017 (English)In: Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, ISSN 0035-8711, E-ISSN 1365-2966, Vol. 469, p. S357-S371Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We collect observational evidence that supports the scheme of mass transfer on the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The obliquity of the rotation axis of 67P causes strong seasonal variations. During perihelion the southern hemisphere is four times more active than the north. Northern territories are widely covered by granular material that indicates back fall originating from the active south. Decimetre sized chunks contain water ice and their trajectories are influenced by an antisolar force instigated by sublimation. OSIRIS observations suggest that up to 20 per cent of the particles directly return to the nucleus surface taking several hours of traveltime. The back fall covered northern areas are active if illuminated but produce mainly water vapour. The decimetre chunks from the nucleus surface are too small to contain more volatile compounds such as CO2 or CO. This causes a north-south dichotomy of the composition measurements in the coma. Active particles are trapped in the gravitational minimum of Hapi during northern winter. They are 'shock frozen' and only re-activated when the comet approaches the sun after its aphelion passage. The insolation of the big cavity is enhanced by self-heating, i.e. reflection and IR radiation from the walls. This, together with the pristinity of the active back fall, explains the early observed activity of the Hapi region. Sobek may be a role model for the consolidated bottom of Hapi. Mass transfer in the case of 67P strongly influences the evolution of the nucleus and the interpretation of coma measurements.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
OXFORD UNIV PRESS , 2017. Vol. 469, p. S357-S371
Keywords [en]
methods: data analysis, comets: individual (67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko)
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-376696DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stx1726ISI: 000443940500035OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-376696DiVA, id: diva2:1287136
Conference
International Conference on Cometary Science - Comets - A New Vision after Rosetta and Philae, NOV 14-18, 2016, Toulouse, FRANCE
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 686709Swedish National Space BoardAvailable from: 2019-02-08 Created: 2019-02-08 Last updated: 2019-02-08Bibliographically approved

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