The Main Belt Comets and Ice in the Solar System

Colin Snodgrass, Jessica Agarwal, Michael Combi, Alan Fitzsimmons, Aurelie Guilbert-Lepoutre, Henry H. Hsieh, Man-To Hui, Emmanuel Jehin, Michael S. P. Kelley, Matthew Knight, Cyrielle Opitom, Roberto Orosei, Miguel de Val-Borro, Bin Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


We review the evidence for buried ice in the asteroid belt; specifically the questions around the so-called Main Belt Comets (MBCs). We summarise the evidence for water throughout the Solar System, and describe the various methods for detecting it, including remote sensing from ultraviolet to radio wavelengths. We review progress in the first decade of study of MBCs, including observations, modelling of ice survival, and discussion on their origins. We then look at which methods will likely be most effective for further progress, including the key challenge of direct detection of (escaping) water in these bodies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Astronomy and Astrophysics Review
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Invited review for Astron. Astrophys. Rev. 43 pages + references. Product of ISSI team


  • astro-ph.EP


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