NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2012B-0455

Small NOAO Logo

Proposal Information for 2012B-0455


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

CoI: Yanga Fernandez, University of Central Florida
CoI: Nalin Samarasinha, Planetary Science Institute

Title: The continuing rotational evolution of comet 2P/Encke

Abstract: We will observe comet 2P/Encke in 2 observing runs at least 1.5 months apart to break the aliases in the rotation period derived from our data obtained in August and September of 2011. This will allow us to deduce a unique period that will be compared to periods from previous apparitions to quantify the observed change in the rotation period. In the absence of rendezvous space missions to comets, the main technique to determine cometary bulk densities is by correlating the long-term orbital changes and the rotational changes of the nucleus with numerical models of outgassing (e.g. Samarasinha et al. 2010). These numerical models however need observationally well determined input parameters. The rates of change in the rotation periods have implications for the longevity of active areas on the nuclei as well as the long-term rotational evolutions. These in turn have implications for the interior structure of the nuclei. After more nuclei with changing rotation periods have been observed, a comparison among those nuclei will be possible and insights into the similarities and diversities of cometary nuclei, which are the most pristine leftovers from the formation of the solar system, can be gained.


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 >   2012B-0455

noaoprop-help@noao.edu

Small NOAO Logo