Visible-wavelength Observations of Jupiter-family Comet Nuclei as Part of Seppcon.

Jana Pittichova, S. C. Lowry, R. Laird, M. F. A'Hearn, J. M. Bauer, H. Campins, Y. Fernández, A. Fitzsimmons, O. Groussin, H. Hsieh, M. Kelley, P. Lamy, J. Licandro, C. M. Lisse, K. J. Meech, W. T. Reach, C. Snodgrass, I. Toth, H. A. Weaver, P. Weaissman

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


We present the latest analysis and results from SEPPCoN (Survey of Ensemble Physical Properties of Cometary Nuclei). This on-going survey involves studying 100 JFCs - about 25% of the known population - at both mid-infrared and visible wave-lengths to constrain the distributions of sizes, shapes, spins, and albedos of this population. Having earlier reported results from measuring thermal emissions of our sample nuclei [1,2,3,4], we report here progress on the visible-wavelength observations that we have obtained at many ground-based facilities in Chile, Spain, and the United States. To date we have attempted observations of 91% of our sample of 100 JFCs, and at least 64 of those were successfully detected. In most cases the comets were at heliocentric distances between 3.0 and 6.5 AU so as to decrease the odds of a comet having a coma. Of the 64 detected comets, 48 were apparently bare, having no extended emission. Our datasets are further augmented by archival data and photometry from the NEAT program [5]. An important goal of SEPPCoN is to accumulate a large comprehensive set of high quality physical data on cometary nuclei in order to make accurate statistical comparisons with other minor-body populations such as Trojans, Centaurs, and Kuiper-belt objects. Information on the size, shape, spin-rate, albedo and color distributions is critical for understanding their origins and evolutionary processes affecting them.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2010

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