Long-term monitoring of comet 103p/hartley 2

Z. Y. Lin, L. M. Lara, W. H. Ip

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We report the spectrophotometric, photometric, and imaging monitoring results of comet 103P/Hartley 2 obtained at the Lulin (1 m), Calar Alto (2.2 m), and Beijing Astronomical (2.16 m) observatories from 2010 April to December. We found that a dust feature in the sunward direction was detected starting from the end of September until the beginning of December (our last observation from the Lulin and Calar Alto observatories). Two distinct sunward jet features in the processed images were observed on October 11 and after October 29 until November 2. In parallel, the CN images reveal two asymmetrical jet features which are nearly perpendicular to the Sun-nucleus direction, these asymmetrical features imply that the comet was in a nearly side-on view in late October and early November. In addition to the jet features, the average result of the C2-to-CN production rate ratio ranges from 0.7 to 1.5, consistent with 103P/Hartley 2 being of typical cometary chemistry. We found that the rh dependence for the dust production rate, Afρ (5000 km), is -3.75 ± 0.45 before perihelion and -3.44 ± 1.20 during the post-perihelion period. We detected higher dust reddening around the optocenter and decreased reddening along the sunward jet feature. We concluded that higher dust reddening could be associated with strong jet activity while lower dust reddening could be associated with the outburst or might imply changes in the optical properties. The average dust color did not appear to vary significantly as the comet passed through perihelion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • comets: individual (103P/Hartley 2)
  • dust, extinction


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