NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2018A-0246

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Program Information for 2018A-0246


PI: Beatrice Mueller, PSI, mueller@psi.edu
Address: 1700 E. Ft. Lowell, #106, Tucson, Arizona 85719 United States

CoI: Nalin Samarasinha, PSI
CoI: Walter Harris, U. of Arizona
CoI: Ellen Howell, U. of Arizona
CoI: Alessondra Springmann, U. of Arizona
CoI: Cassandra Lejoly, U. of Arizona
CoI: Jean-Baptiste Kikwaya Eluo, Vatican Observatory

Title: Rotational state of comet 46P/Wirtanen

Abstract: The 2017-2018 period represents an unprecedented opportunity to observe three Jupiter family comets (41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak (TGK), 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova (HMP), and linebreak 46P/Wirtanen) at perigees less than 0.15,AU, a rare occurrence even for one object. We observed comets TGK and HMP with a multi-telescope campaign in the first half of 2017 and will mount a similar effort in 2018 for Wirtanen. After this a comparable opportunity will not be available for at least 30 years. The overall aims of the study will be to investigate the rotational sate of the nuclei and use inner coma imaging and photometry to derive physical parameters and investigate coma processes. This proposal will emphasize pre-perihelion observations of Wirtanen, a small ($approx$0.5,km radius), hyper-active comet that reaches perigee at 0.08,AU on December 16, 2018. We will determine the rotational state from the coma morphology around the perigee time period. However, we expect that torques from outgassing jets will alter the rotational state prior to this time in a manner similar to that observed recently for comets such as TGK and 103P/Hartley~2 during a single apparition. It is therefore important to derive a rotation period of Wirtanen before the activity dominates in order to provide a reference state from which to determine the extent of any rotational changes.

Program Type: Standard/Solar System

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2018A):  SOAR/Goodman -- 2n on Jul 12 - Jul 15 2018


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2018A-0246

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