NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009A-0409

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Proposal Information for 2009A-0409


PI: Paul Weissman, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, paul.r.weissman@jpl.nasa.gov
Address: Planetary and Life Sciences Section, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA

CoI: Stephen Lowry, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Title: CCD Photometry of Comet-Asteroid Transition Object 107P/Wilson-Harrington

Abstract: In recent years the distinction between comets and asteroids has continued to blur. Volatile-rich asteroids in the outer main belt have been observed to display comet-like activity. Primitive near-Earth asteroids show both dynamical and physical evidence of being dormant or extinct cometary nuclei. Comet 107P/Wilson-Harrington has long been recognized as a potential comet-asteroid transition object. Originally discovered during the first Palomar Sky Survey in 1949, it showed evidence of cometary activity, i.e., a short tail. Due to a poor orbit determination, it was subsequently lost until independently rediscovered as an apparently inactive asteroid in 1979. 107P/Wilson-Harrington appears to be a cometary nucleus that has exhausted or buried all its volatiles and has transitioned to a dormant or possibly even completely inactive state. We propose to characterize this object using multi- filter CCD photometry to determine its size, shape, rotation period, and broad-band colors, and to search for any residual cometary activity that might be present.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009A-0409

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