NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2017B-0155

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Program Information for 2017B-0155


PI: Charles Schambeau, U. of Central Florida, cas0010@knights.ucf.edu
Address: Physics Department, 4111 Libra Drive, Physical Sciences Bldg. 430, Orlando, Florida 32816-2385 USA

CoI: Yanga Fernandez, U. of Central Florida
CoI: Laura Woodney, Cal State San Bernadino

Title: Characterizing the Activity and Behavior of Comets in the Centaur-to- Jupiter Family Transition

Abstract: Observations suggest that the active lifetimes of Jupiter-family comets (JFCs) actually often start when they are still in the Centaur region between Jupiter and Neptune. Yet the transition from Centaur to JFC happens in a region where water sublimation cannot be the driver of the activity. We wish to investigate the nature of cometary activity in this thermal environment. We propose here to begin an imaging campaign and photometric investigation of a group of 19 known high-perihelion, q $>$ 4.5 AU, JFCs on daily, weekly, and monthly cadences to probe variability in activity in an environment outside the water sublimation line. The enigmatic Comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 (SW1, q = 5.7 AU) has shown cometary activity can be very dynamic on many time scales when water sublimation is not the driver. Given SW1's erratic activity, the question arises: is this activity pattern truly unique or do other comets in similar orbits display matching behavior? The timing of our proposed observations will give us the fidelity necessary for the first time ever to assess activity variability of a sample of JFCs from this poorly-studied group, helping to establish and characterize activity trends in this orbital environment, the transition region between Centaurs and JFCs.

Program Type: Standard/Solar System

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2017B):  CT-0.9m/CFIM -- 7n on Oct 13 - Oct 19 2017
Run 2 (2017B):  KP-0.9m/HDI -- 7n on Jan 20 - Jan 26 2018


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 >   2017B-0155

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