Volume 571, November 2014
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||10 November 2014|
Dust environment and dynamical history of a sample of short-period comets
II. 81P/Wild 2 and 103P/Hartley 2
1 Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC), Glorieta de la Astronomía s/n, 18008 Granada, Spain
2 Amateur Association Cometas-Obs, Spain
3 Universidad de Granada-Phd Program in Physics and Mathematics (FisyMat), 18071 Granada, Spain
Received: 3 June 2014
Accepted: 5 August 2014
Aims. This paper is a continuation of the first paper in this series, where we presented an extended study of the dust environment of a sample of short-period comets and their dynamical history. On this occasion, we focus on comets 81P/Wild 2 and 103P/Hartley 2, which are of special interest as targets of the spacecraft missions Stardust and EPOXI.
Methods. As in the previous study, we used two sets of observational data: a set of images, acquired at Sierra Nevada and Lulin observatories, and the Afρ data as a function of the heliocentric distance provided by the amateur astronomical association Cometas-Obs. The dust environment of comets (dust loss rate, ejection velocities, and size distribution of the particles) was derived from our Monte Carlo dust tail code. To determine their dynamical history we used the numerical integrator Mercury 6.2 to ascertain the time spent by these objects in the Jupiter family Comet region.
Results. From the dust analysis, we conclude that both 81P/Wild 2 and 103P/Hartley 2 are dusty comets, with an annual dust production rate of 2.8 × 109 kg yr-1 and (0.4−1.5) × 109 kg yr-1, respectively. From the dynamical analysis, we determined their time spent in the Jupiter family Comet region as ~40 yr in the case of 81P/Wild 2 and ~1000 yr for comet 103P/Hartley 2. These results imply that 81P/Wild 2 is the youngest and the most active comet of the eleven short-period comets studied so far, which tends to favor the correlation between the time spent in JFCs region and the comet activity previously discussed.
Key words: methods: observational / methods: numerical / comets: individual: 81P/Wild 2 / comets: individual: 103P/Hartley 2 / comets: general
© ESO, 2014
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