Title

Ground-based optical and Spitzer infrared imaging observations of comet 21p/Giacobini-Zinner

Authors

Authors

J. Pittichova; C. E. Woodward; M. S. Kelley;W. T. Reach

Comments

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Abbreviated Journal Title

Astron. J.

Keywords

comets : individual (21P/Giacobini-Zinner); infrared : solar system; meteors, meteoroids; C/1995-O1 HALE-BOPP; DEEP IMPACT; DUST TRAIL; COMET; 21P/GIACOBINI-ZINNER; SPACE-TELESCOPE; WHITE-DWARF; CO; 67P/CHURYUMOV-GERASIMENKO; NUCLEUS; MISSION; Astronomy & Astrophysics

Abstract

We present ground-based optical and Spitzer Space Telescope infrared (IR) imaging observations of the ecliptic (Jupiter-family) comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, the parent body of the Draconid meteor stream, during its 2005 apparition. The onset of nucleus activity occurred at a pre-perihelion heliocentric distance, r(h) similar to 3.80 AU, while post-perihelion 21P was dusty (peak Af rho = 131 cm(-1)) and active out to heliocentric distances greater than or similar to 3.3 AU following a logarithmic slope with rh of -2.04. Coma colors, V-R = 0.524 +/- 0.003, R-I = 0.487 +/- 0.004, are redder than solar, yet comparable to colors derived for other Jupiter-family comets. A nucleus radius of 1.82 +/- 0.05 km is derived from photometry at quiescence. Spitzer images post-perihelion exhibit an extensive coma with a prominent dust tail, where excess emission ( over the dust continuum) in the 4.5 mu m Infrared Array Camera ( IRAC) image arises from volatile gaseous CO and/or CO(2). No dust trail was detected (3 sigma surface brightness upper limit of 0.3 MJy sr(-1) pixel(-1)) along the projected velocity vector of comet 21P in the MIPS 24 mu m image suggesting that the number density of trail particles is less than or similar to 7 x 10(-11) m(-3). The bolometric albedo of 21P derived from the contemporaneous optical and Spitzer observations is A(theta = 22 degrees) = 0.11, slightly lower than values derived for other comets at the same phase angle.

Journal Title

Astronomical Journal

Volume

136

Issue/Number

3

Publication Date

1-1-2008

Document Type

Article

Language

English

First Page

1127

Last Page

1136

WOS Identifier

WOS:000258477800021

ISSN

0004-6256

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