Dust measurements in the coma of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko inbound to the sun

Alessra Rotundi, Holger Sierks, Vincenzo Della Corte, Marco Fulle, Pedro J. Gutierrez, Luisa Lara, Cesare Barbieri, Philippe L. Lamy, Rafael Rodrigo, Detlef Koschny, Hans Rickman, Horst Uwe Keller, José J. López-Moreno, Mario Accolla, Jessica Agarwal, Michael F. A'Hearn, Nicolas Altobelli, Francesco Angrilli, M. Antonietta Barucci, Jean Loup BertauxIvano Bertini, Dennis Bodewits, Ezio Bussoletti, Luigi Colangeli, Massimo Cosi, Gabriele Cremonese, Jean Francois Crifo, Vania Da Deppo, Björn Davidsson, Stefano Debei, Mariolino De Cecco, Francesca Esposito, Marco Ferrari, Sonia Fornasier, Frank Giovane, Bo Gustafson, Simon F. Green, Olivier Groussin, Eberhard Grün, Carsten Güttler, Miguel L. Herranz, Stubbe F. Hviid, Wing Ip, Stavro Ivanovski, José M. Jerónimo, Laurent Jorda, Joerg Knollenberg, Rainer Kramm, Ekkehard Kührt, Michael Küppers, Monica Lazzarin, Mark R. Leese, Antonio C. López-Jiménez, Francesca Lucarelli, Stephen C. Lowry, Francesco Marzari, Elena Mazzotta Epifani, J. Anthony M. McDonnell, Vito Mennella, Harald Michalik, Antonio Molina, Rafael Morales, Ferno Moreno, Stefano Mottola, Giampiero Naletto, Nilda Oklay, José L. Ortiz, Ernesto Palomba, Pasquale Palumbo, Jean Marie Perrin, Julio Rodríguez, Lola Sabau, Colin Snodgrass, Roberto Sordini, Nicolas Thomas, Cecilia Tubiana, Jean Baptiste Vincent, Paul Weissman, Klaus Peter Wenzel, Vladimir Zakharov, John C. Zarnecki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

321 Scopus citations

Abstract

Critical measurements for understanding accretion and the dust/gas ratio in the solar nebula, where planets were forming 4.5 billion years ago, are being obtained by the GIADA (Grain Impact Analyser and Dust Accumulator) experiment on the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Between 3.6 and 3.4 astronomical units inbound, GIADA and OSIRIS (Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System) detected 35 outflowing grains of mass 10-10 to 10-7 kilograms, and 48 grains of mass 10-5 to 10-2 kilograms, respectively. Combined with gas data from the MIRO (Microwave Instrument for the Rosetta Orbiter) and ROSINA (Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis) instruments, we find a dust/gas mass ratio of 4 ± 2 averaged over the sunlit nucleus surface. A cloud of larger grains also encircles the nucleus in bound orbits from the previous perihelion. The largest orbiting clumps are meter-sized, confirming the dust/gas ratio of 3 inferred at perihelion from models of dust comae and trails.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberaaa3905
JournalScience
Volume347
Issue number6220
DOIs
StatePublished - 23 Jan 2015

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