NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2012A-0461

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Proposal Information for 2012A-0461


PI: Henry H. Hsieh, University of Hawaii, hsieh@ifa.hawaii.edu
Address: Institute for Astronomy, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, United States

CoI: Heather Kaluna, University of Hawaii
CoI: Karen J. Meech, University of Hawaii

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

Abstract: We seek SOAR time to physically characterize the nucleus of main- belt comet (MBC) P/2008 R1 (Garradd). Our primary objectives include determination of P/Garradd's rotation period, shape, and colors. MBCs are mysterious objects that exhibit cometary activity yet are dynamically indistinguishable from main-belt asteroids. Studying 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. Five MBCs are currently known: only two have well-characterized nuclei, while the others have only been partially characterized. With so little known about this population, it is crucial to obtain the best possible physical characterizations for as many of the few 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 as well as any commonalities. This will then help answer larger scientific questions such as how abundant MBCs may be and what they can tell us about the past and present distribution of ice in the inner solar system.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2012A-0461

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