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Orbital elements of the material surrounding comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Theoretical Astrophysics.
Inst Astrofis Andalucia CSIC, Granada 18008, Spain..
Max Planck Inst Sonnensyst Forsch, D-37077 Gottingen, Germany..
Univ Padua, Dept Phys & Astron, I-35122 Padua, Italy..
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2015 (English)In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, ISSN 0004-6361, E-ISSN 1432-0746, Vol. 583, A16Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

Context. We investigate the dust coma within the Hill sphere of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Aims. We aim to determine osculating orbital elements for individual distinguishable but unresolved slow-moving grains in the vicinity of the nucleus. In addition, we perform photometry and constrain grain sizes. Methods. We performed astrometry and photometry using images acquired by the OSIRIS Wide Angle Camera on the European Space Agency spacecraft Rosetta. Based on these measurements, we employed standard orbit determination and orbit improvement techniques. Results. Orbital elements and effective diameters of four grains were constrained, but we were unable to uniquely determine them. Two of the grains have light curves that indicate grain rotation. Conclusions. The four grains have diameters nominally in the range 0.14-0.50 m. For three of the grains, we found elliptic orbits, which is consistent with a cloud of bound particles around the nucleus. However, hyperbolic escape trajectories cannot be excluded for any of the grains, and for one grain this is the only known option. One grain may have originated from the surface shortly before observation. These results have possible implications for the understanding of the dispersal of the cloud of bound debris around comet nuclei, as well as for understanding the ejection of large grains far from the Sun.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 583, A16
Keyword [en]
astrometry, celestial mechanics, comets: individual: 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-270458DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201525841ISI: 000365072200028OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-270458DiVA: diva2:889806
Available from: 2015-12-28 Created: 2015-12-28 Last updated: 2015-12-28Bibliographically approved

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