Search for the Return of Activity in Active Asteroid 176P/LINEAR

Henry H. Hsieh, Larry Denneau, Alan Fitzsimmons, Olivier R. Hainaut, Masateru Ishiguru, Robert Jedicke, Heather M. Kaluna, Jacqueline V. Keane, Jan Kleyna, Pedro Lacerda, Eric M. Maclennan, Karen J. Meech, Nick A. Moskovitz, Timm Riesen, Eva Schunova, Colin Snodgrass, Chadwick A. Trujillo, Laurie Urban, Peter Veres, Richard J. WainscoatBin Yang

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We present the results of a search for the reactivation of active asteroid 176P/LINEAR during its 2011 perihelion passage using deep optical observations obtained before, during, and after that perihelion passage. Deep composite images of 176P constructed from data obtained between 2011 June and 2011 December show no visible signs of activity, while photometric measurements of the object during this period also show no significant brightness enhancements similar to that observed for 176P between 2005 November and 2005 December when it was previously observed to be active. An azimuthal search for dust emission likewise reveals no evidence for directed emission (i.e., a tail, as was previously observed for 176P), while a one-dimensional surface brightness profile analysis shows no indication of a spherically symmetric coma at any time in 2011. We conclude that 176P did not in fact exhibit activity in 2011, at least not on the level on which it exhibited activity in 2005, and suggest that this could be due to the devolatization or mantling of the active site responsible for its activity in 2005.
Original languageEnglish
Article number89
Number of pages12
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2014

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