Multiple Outbursts of Asteroid (6478) Gault

Quanzhi Ye, Michael S.P. Kelley, Dennis Bodewits, Bryce Bolin, Lynne Jones, Zhong Yi Lin, Eric C. Bellm, Richard Dekany, Dmitry A. Duev, Steven Groom, George Helou, Shrinivas R. Kulkarni, Thomas Kupfer, Frank J. Masci, Thomas A. Prince, Maayane T. Soumagnac

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21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Main-belt asteroid (6478) Gault unexpectedly sprouted two tails in late 2018 and early 2019, identifying it as a new active asteroid. Here we present observations obtained by the 1.2 m Zwicky Transient Facility survey telescope that provide detailed time-series coverage of the onset and evolution of Gault's activity. Gault exhibited two brightening events, with the first one starting on 2018 October 18 ±5 days and a second one starting on 2018 December 24 ±1 days. The amounts of mass released are 2 ×10 7 kg and 1 ×10 6 kg, respectively. Based on photometric measurements, each event persisted for about a month.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL16
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume874
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • comets: individual ((6478) Gault)
  • minor planets, asteroids: individual ((6478) Gault)

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