Monitoring of the activity and composition of comets 41P/Tuttle–Giacobini–Kresak and 45P/Honda–Mrkos–Pajdusakova
Space Sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research (STAR) Institute, University of Liège,
2 Oukaimeden Observatory, High Energy Physics and Astrophysics Laboratory, Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech, Morocco
3 European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile
Accepted: 11 September 2018
We report on photometry and imaging of the Jupiter family comets 41P/Tuttle–Giacobini–Kresak and 45P/Honda–Mrkos–Pajdusakova with the TRAPPIST-North (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) telescope. We observed 41P on 34 nights from February 16 to July 27, 2017, pre- and post-perihelion (rh = 1.04 au), and collected data for comet 45P after perihelion (rh = 0.53 au) from February 10 to March 30, 2017. We computed the production rates of the daughter species OH, NH, CN, C3 and C2 and we measured the dust proxy, Afρ, for both comets. The peak of water-production rate of 41P was (3.46 ± 0.20) × 1027 molecules s−1 on April 3, 2017, when the comet was at 1.05 au from the Sun. We have shown that the activity of 41P is decreasing by about 30–40% from one apparition to the next. We measured a mean water-production rate for 45P of (1.43 ± 0.62) × 1027 molecules s−1 during a month after perihelion. Our results show that these Jupiter family comets had low gas and dust activity and no outburst was detected. Relative abundances, expressed as ratios of production rates and the Afρ parameter with respect to OH and to CN, were compared to those measured in other comets. We found that 41P and 45P have a typical composition in terms of carbon-bearing species. The study of coma features exhibited by the CN gas species allowed the measurement of the rotation period of 41P, showing a surprisingly large increase of the rotation period from (30 ± 5) h at the end of March to (50 ± 10) h at the end of April, 2017, in agreement with recent observations by other teams.
Key words: comets: individual: 45P/Honda / Mrkos / Pajdusakova / comets: individual: 41P/Tuttle / Giacobini / Kresak / comets: general / techniques: photometric
© ESO 2018