NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010B-0327

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Proposal Information for 2010B-0327


PI: Henry Hsieh, University of Hawaii, h.hsieh@qub.ac.uk
Address: Institute for Astronomy, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, United States

Title: Nucleus Characterization of Main-Belt Comet P/Read

Abstract: Main-belt comets (MBCs) are mysterious objects that exhibit cometary activity yet are dynamically indistinguishable from main-belt asteroids. Understanding these apparently icy objects so close to the Sun is important for understanding the distribution of volatile material in our solar system as well as the origin of Earth's water. Four MBCs are currently known, though only two have had their nuclei well- characterized. With so little currently known about this mysterious population, it is critical that we obtain the best possible physical characterizations for as many of the currently known MBCs as possible. This information will aid us in developing a global understanding of the population's characteristics, such as the level of diversity among members as well as the level of commonality. In turn, this global understanding will help answer larger scientific questions such as how abundant MBCs may be and what implications they have for our understanding of the distribution of icy bodies in the inner solar system. We seek observing time on SOAR to develop a definitive physical characterization of the nucleus of MBC P/2005 U1 (Read). The goals of our SOAR observations include (but are not limited to) determination of P/Read's rotation period, nucleus elongation, and colors.


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



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