Volume 485, Number 2, July II 2008
|Page(s)||599 - 606|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||16 April 2008|
Outburst activity in comets
I. Continuous monitoring of comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1
Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC), Campus UAB, Facultat de Ciències, Torre C-5, parells, 2a planta, 08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona), Spain
2 Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC), Ed. Nexus, Gran Capità 2-4, 08034 Barcelona, Spain e-mail: email@example.com
3 Esteve Duran Observatory Foundation, Montseny 42, 08553 Seva, Barcelona, Spain
4 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University, Box 515, 75120, Uppsala, Sweden
5 Gualba Astronomical Observatory (MPC442), Barcelona, Spain
6 Guadarrama Observatory (MPC458), Madrid, Spain
7 La Cañada Observatory (MPC J87), Ávila, Spain
8 Observatorio Astronómico Municipal de Murcia (J76), La Murta, Spain
Accepted: 19 March 2008
Aims. We carried out a continuous monitoring of comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 by using medium aperture telescopes with the aim of studying the activity and outburst mechanisms of this comet on the basis of photometric variations.
Methods. We used a standardized method to obtain the coma photometry in the R filter of the Johnson-Kron-Cousins system. Some abrupt changes observed in the brightness of SW1 suggest important variations in surface activity with time.
Results. During our 2002-2007 observational campaign we detected 28 outbursts (of 1 mag or larger) in 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1. A typical outburst is characterized by a rapid increase towards maximum (in a few hours) and a slower decrease toward the quiescent level (in 3-4 days). Given the effective observing time, the average outburst rate is 7.3 events per year. Despite well-sampled data, no signs of a clear periodicity in the outburst occurrence has been found, thus confirming the unpredictability of the activity of this comet.
Key words: comets: individual: 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 / Kuiper Belt / meteors, meteoroids
© ESO, 2008
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