Dust Activity in Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from February 20 to April 20, 2003


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Abstract

Broadband imaging of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko has provided more data on the characterisation of the target of the ESA Rosetta Mission. The comet monitoring between rh=2.37 and rh=2.78 AU postperihelion shows a prominent dust coma which extends up to ≈ 25,000 km from the nucleus, and a long dust structure in approximately anti-tail direction, reaching at least 230,000 km, identified as a neck-line structure. The non-isotropic dust emission is detected from the structures in the inner coma, and it is reflected on the slope of linear fits of surface brightness profiles vs. cometocentric projected distance in log–log representation as m ≈ 0.83–0.941. Besides the long dust spike at position angle of 295°, the morphological study of the dust coma confirms the presence of two structures at position angles of 95 and 195° where the overabundance of dust can be as high as 50% at ρ ≤ 30,000 km. The Af ρ parameter derived from our R broadband data is 26.0 and 29.8 cm at rh=2.37 and 2.48 AU postperihelion. The dust reflectivity S′(λ), a measurement of the dust colour, is0.061±0.019, a rather neutral colour.

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