Volume 628, August 2019
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||06 August 2019|
Disintegration of active asteroid P/2016 G1 (PANSTARRS)
European Southern Observatory,
Garching bei München,
2 Institute for Astronomy, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
3 University of NM – 1700 Lomas Blvd, NE. Suite 2200, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001 USA
4 ESA SSA-NEO Coordination Centre, Largo Galileo Galilei, 1 00044 Frascati (RM), Italy
5 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Via Frascati, 33, 00040 Monte Porzio Catone (RM), Italy
6 Indian Institute of Astrophysics, II Block, Koramangala, Bengaluru 560 034, India
Accepted: 26 June 2019
We report on the catastrophic disintegration of P/2016 G1 (PANSTARRS), an active asteroid, in April 2016. Deep images over three months show that the object is made up of a central concentration of fragments surrounded by an elongated coma, and presents previously unreported sharp arc-like and narrow linear features. The morphology and evolution of these characteristics independently point toward a brief event on 2016 March 6. The arc and the linear feature can be reproduced by large particles on a ring, moving at ~2.5 m s−1. The expansion of the ring defines a cone with a ~40° half-opening. We propose that the P/2016 G1 was hit by a small object which caused its (partial or total) disruption, and that the ring corresponds to large fragments ejected during the final stages of the crater formation.
Key words: comets: general / comets: individual: P/2016 G1 / minor planets, asteroids: general
© ESO 2019
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