Physical activity of the selected nearly isotropic comets with perihelia at large heliocentric distance
Main Astronomical Observatory of NAS of Ukraine,
27 Akademika Zabolotnoho Street,
2 Institut UTINAM, UMR 6213, CNRS, Univ. Bourgogne Franche-Comté, OSU THETA, BP 1615, 25010 Besançon Cedex, France
3 Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 369167 Nizhnij Arkhyz, Russian Federation
4 IC AMER Observatory of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 27 Akademica Zabolotnoho Street, 03143 Kyiv, Ukraine
5 Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 48 Pyatnitskaya Street, 119017 Moskow, Russian Federation
6 Institute of Astronomy of Kharkiv National University, 35 Sumska Street, 61022 Kharkiv, Ukraine
Accepted: 2 December 2017
Context. The systematic investigation of comets in a wide range of heliocentric distances can contribute to a better understanding of the physical mechanisms that trigger activity at large distances from the Sun and reveals possible differences in the composition of outer solar system bodies belonging to various dynamical groups.
Aims. We seek to analyze the dust environment of the selected nearly isotropic comets with a perihelion distance between 4.5 and 9.1 au, where sublimation of water ice is considered to be negligible.
Methods. We present results of multicolor broadband photometric observations for 14 distant active objects conducted between 2008 and 2015 with various telescopes. Images obtained with broadband filters were used to investigate optical colors of the cometary comae and to quantify physical activity of the comet nuclei.
Results. The activity level was estimated with Afρ parameters ranging between 95 ± 10 cm and 9600 ± 300 cm. Three returning comets were less active than the dynamically new comets. Dust production rates of the comet nuclei were estimated between 1 and 100 kg s−1 based on some assumptions about the physical properties of dust particles populating comae. The measured colors point out reddening of the continuum for all the comets. The mean values of a normalized reflectivity gradient within the group of the comets amount to 14 ± 2% per 1000 Å and 3 ± 2% per 1000 Å in the BV and VR spectral domains, respectively. The comae of the dynamically new comets, which were observed on their inbound legs, may be slightly redder in the blue spectral interval than comae of the comets observed after the perihelion passages. The dynamically new comets observed both pre- and post-perihelion, seem to have higher production rates post-perihelion than pre-perihelion for similar heliocentric distances.
Key words: comets: general
© ESO 2018