EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 420, Number 1, June II 2004
Page(s) 389 - 395
Section Planets and planetary systems
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20035877

A&A 420, 389-395 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20035877

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

II. A comparative study of dust production in 46P/Wirtanen and 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko during their 2002/2003 apparition
M. R. Kidger

Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), C/vía Láctea, s/n, 38205 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
(Received 16 December 2003 / Accepted 12 March 2004 )

A comparison is made of the light curves and and dust production of the initial target for the ROSETTA mission, 46P/Wirtanen and the new target 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko during their recent 2002/2003 apparition. The study is based on amateur CCD monitoring using a standardised method to produce consistent photometry in Johnson-Kron-Cousins system. Although the dust production of the two comets is similar at perihelion ( $Af\rho \approx200$-cm), dust production in 46P/Wirtanen peaked before perihelion, while in 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko it peaks after perihelion. Dust activity shows the same post-perihelion dependence with heliocentric distance in both comets. Overall 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has a dust production rate an order of magnitude greater at the same heliocentric distance post-perihelion as 46P/Wirtanen, but 46P/Wirtanen has greater maximum dust production immediately prior to perihelion.

Key words: comets: individual: 46P/Wirtanen, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko -- techniques: photometric -- instrumentation: miscellaneous

© ESO 2004