NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2012A-0106

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Proposal Information for 2012A-0106


PI: Beatrice Mueller, Planetary Science Institute, mueller@psi.edu
Address: 1700 E. Ft. Lowell Rd., #106, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA

CoI: Nalin Samarasinha, Planetary Science Institute

Title: The rotational evolution of comet 10P/Tempel 2

Abstract: Mueller & Ferrin (1996) found a change in rotation period for comet 10P/Tempel 2 in 1994, the first time such a change had been observationally confirmed in a periodic comet. However, they could not determine if the comet was spinning up or slowing down due to aliasing in the rotation periods. Subsequently, Knight et al. (2011) confirmed this result and they deduced that comet 10P/Tempel 2 is spinning down at a rate of ~16 sec per perihelion passage assuming a constant rate of change. Since their observations, the comet has passed through another perihelion and a further change in the rotation period is expected. We will deduce a precise rotation period from our proposed observations. We will compare this period with rotation periods derived from data from all previous apparitions. We will also determine whether the rate of change in the rotation period is constant. This has direct implications for the interpretation of non-gravitational forces caused by outgassing for comets and for the evolution of the nucleus of comet 10P/Tempel 2.


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 >   2012A-0106

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