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Dormant comets in the near-Earth asteroid population

Mommert, M. and Harris, A.W. and Mueller, M. and Hora, J.L. and Trilling, D.E. and Knight, M. and Bottke, W.F. and Thomas, C. and Delbo', M. and Emery, J. and Fazio, G.G. and Smith, H.A. (2015) Dormant comets in the near-Earth asteroid population. In: Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 47 (5), p. 84. American Astronomical Society. American Astronomical Society, Division for Planetary Sciences 47th Annual Meeting, 8.-13. Nov. 2015, National Harbor, MD, USA.

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Official URL: http://files.aas.org/dps47/dps_47_2015_dc_abstracts.pdf

Abstract

The population of near-Earth objects comprises active comets and asteroids, covering a wide range of dynamical parameters and physical properties. Dormant (or extinct) comets, masquerading as asteroids, have long been suspected of supplementing the near-Earth asteroid (NEA) population. We present a search for asteroidal objects of cometary origin based on dynamical and physical considerations. Our study is based on albedos derived within the ExploreNEOs program and is extended by adding data from NEOWISE and the Akari asteroid catalog. We use a statistical approach to identify asteroids on orbits that resemble those of short-period near-Earth comets using the Tisserand parameter with respect to Jupiter, the aphelion distance, and the minimum orbital intersection distance with respect to Jupiter. We identify a total of 23 near-Earth asteroids from our sample that are likely to be dormant short-period near-Earth comets and, based on a de-biasing procedure applied to the cryogenic NEOWISE survey, estimate both magnitude-limited and size-limited fractions of the NEA population that are dormant short-period comets. We find that 0.3-3.3% of the NEA population with H <= 21, and 9(+2/-5)% of the population with diameters d >= 1 km, are dormant short-period near-Earth comets. We also present an observation program that utilizes the 1.8m Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) on Mt. Graham, AZ, to identify dormant comet candidates and search for activity in these objects. Our targets are NEAs on comet-like orbits, based on the dynamical criteria derived in the above study, that are accessible with the VATT (V <= 22). We identify dormant comets based on their optical spectral slope, represented by V-R color measurements, as albedo measurements for most of these objects are not available. For each target we measure and monitor its V magnitude in order to reveal activity outbreaks. We also search for extended emission around our targets using deep imaging and a point-spread-function subtraction technique that allows us to obtain an upper limit on the dust production rate in each target. We present preliminary results from this program. This work is supported in part by funding from the Spitzer Science Center.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/101697/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:Dormant comets in the near-Earth asteroid population
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Mommert, M.Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USAUNSPECIFIED
Harris, A.W.alan.harris (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Mueller, M.SRON, 9700 AV Groningen, The NetherlandsUNSPECIFIED
Hora, J.L.Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138-1516, USAUNSPECIFIED
Trilling, D.E.Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USAUNSPECIFIED
Knight, M.Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USAUNSPECIFIED
Bottke, W.F.Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO 80302, USAUNSPECIFIED
Thomas, C.Planetary Science institute, Tucson, AZ 85719-2395, USAUNSPECIFIED
Delbo', M.Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis, CNRS, BP 4229, 06304 Nice Cedex 4, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Emery, J.Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Knoxville, TN 37996-1410, USAUNSPECIFIED
Fazio, G.G.Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138-1516, USAUNSPECIFIED
Smith, H.A.Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138-1516, USAUNSPECIFIED
Date:November 2015
Journal or Publication Title:Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Refereed publication:No
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Volume:47
Page Range:p. 84
Publisher:American Astronomical Society
Series Name:Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Status:Published
Keywords:Near-Earth asteroid (NEA), comet, Spitzer Space Telescope
Event Title:American Astronomical Society, Division for Planetary Sciences 47th Annual Meeting
Event Location:National Harbor, MD, USA
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:8.-13. Nov. 2015
Organizer:American Astronomical Society
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Space Exploration
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Exploration of the Solar System
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Leitungsbereich PF
Deposited By: Harris, Prof. Alan
Deposited On:06 Jan 2016 13:57
Last Modified:10 May 2016 23:40

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