Ref: ASTROimport-496

The rotation and coma profiles of comet C/2004 Q2 (Machholz)

Reyniers, M. ; Degroote, P. ; Bodewits, D. ; Cuypers, J. ; Waelkens, C.

published in Astronomy and Astrophysics, 494, pp. 379-389 (2009)

Abstract: Aims: Rotation periods of cometary nuclei are scarce, though important when studying the nature and origin of these objects. Our aim is to derive a rotation period for the nucleus of comet C/2004 Q2 (Machholz). Methods: C/2004 Q2 (Machholz) was monitored using the Merope CCD camera on the Mercator telescope at La Palma, Spain, in January 2005, during its closest approach to Earth, implying a high spatial resolution (50 km per pixel). One hundred seventy images were recorded in three different photometric broadband filters, two blue ones (Geneva U and B) and one red (Cousins I). Magnitudes for the comet's optocentre were derived with very small apertures to isolate the contribution of the nucleus to the bright coma, including correction for the seeing. Our CCD photometry also permitted us to study the coma profile of the inner coma in the different bands. Results: A rotation period for the nucleus of P=9.1±0.2 h was derived. The period is on the short side compared to published periods of other comets, but still shorter periods are known. Nevertheless, comparing our results with images obtained in the narrowband CN filter, the possibility that our method sampled P/2 instead of P cannot be excluded. Coma profiles are also presented, and a terminal ejection velocity of the grains v_gr=1609±48 m s-1 is found from the continuum profile in the I band. Based on observations collected with the 1.2 m Mercator telescope at the Roque de los Muchachos observatory, La Palma, Spain.

DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20079225
Links: link

The record appears in these collections:
Royal Observatory of Belgium > Astronomy & Astrophysics
Science Articles > Peer Reviewed Articles

 Record created 2016-07-01, last modified 2016-07-01