EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 408, Number 2, September III 2003
Page(s) 767 - 774
Section The Sun
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20030964

A&A 408, 767-774 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20030964

Dust production and coma morphology of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko during the 2002-2003 apparition

M. R. Kidger

Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), C/Vía Láctea s/n, 38205 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
(Received 27 May 2003 / Accepted 17 June 2003 )

Light curves and images of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko are presented for the 2002-2003 apparition based on amateur CCD monitoring using a standardised method to produce consistent photometry in Johnson-Kron-Cousins system. Multiaperture data shows a large outburst at perihelion during which dust production increased by a factor of 2 to give a peak value of $Af\rho \approx350$ cm. A similar outburst was seen at the same epoch of the previous apparition in 1995-96 and probably in 1982-83, suggesting that the light curve is similar at succesive returns. A considerable change is seen in the slope of the light curve at r=1.85 AU ( T+140 days) corresponding to a second significant increase in dust production. Overall though the dust production shows a very steep dependence with heliocentric distance, falling as r-5.8.

Key words: comets: individual: 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko -- techniques: photometric

© ESO 2003