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Post Info TOPIC: Comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS)


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Title: X-shooter search for outgassing from Main Belt Comet P/2012 T1 (Pan-STARRS)
Author: Colin Snodgrass, Bin Yang, Alan Fitzsimmons

Main Belt Comets are a recently identified population of minor bodies with stable asteroid-like orbits but cometary appearances. Sublimation of water ice is the most likely mechanism for their recurrent activity (i.e. dust tails and dust comae), although there has been no direct detection of gas. These peculiar objects could hold the key to the origin of water on Earth. In this paper we present a search for the gas responsible for lifting dust from P/2012 T1 (Pan-STARRS), and review previous attempts at such measurements. To date such searches have mainly been indirect, looking for the common cometary gas CN rather than gasses related to water itself. We use the VLT and X-shooter to search for emission from OH in the UV, a direct dissociation product of water. We do not detect any emission lines, and place an upper limit on water production rate from P/2012 T1 of 8-9 x 10^25 molecules s^-1. This is similar to limits derived from observations using the Herschel space telescope. We conclude that the best current facilities are incapable of detecting water emission at the exceptionally low levels required to produce the observed activity in Main Belt Comets.

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Comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS) is at Opposition (2.902 AU) in the constellation Virgo on the 8th April 2015



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Comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS) makes its closest approach to the Earth (2.902 AU) in the constellation Virgo on the 7th April 2015 

Ephemeris

Date    TT    R. A. (2000) Decl.     Delta      r    Elong.  Phase   Mag
2015 04 05    13 25 51.6 +05 56 42   2.9025  3.8800   165.8     3.6  23.2
2015 04 06    13 25 09.0 +06 00 39   2.9020  3.8804   166.0     3.6  23.2
2015 04 07    13 24 26.1 +06 04 31   2.9018  3.8808   166.1     3.5  23.2
2015 04 08    13 23 43.2 +06 08 18   2.9019  3.8812   166.1     3.5  23.2
2015 04 09    13 23 00.1 +06 12 01   2.9022  3.8815   166.0     3.6  23.2
2015 04 10    13 22 16.9 +06 15 38   2.9029  3.8819   165.9     3.6  23.2
2015 04 11    13 21 33.7 +06 19 11   2.9039  3.8823   165.6     3.7  23.2
2015 04 12    13 20 50.4 +06 22 38   2.9052  3.8826   165.2     3.8  23.2
2015 04 13    13 20 07.2 +06 25 59   2.9067  3.8830   164.8     3.9  23.2
2015 04 14    13 19 24.0 +06 29 14   2.9086  3.8833   164.3     4.0  23.2
2015 04 15    13 18 40.9 +06 32 24   2.9107  3.8836   163.7     4.2  23.2
2015 04 16    13 17 58.0 +06 35 27   2.9132  3.8840   163.0     4.3  23.2
2015 04 17    13 17 15.2 +06 38 24   2.9159  3.8843   162.4     4.5  23.2
2015 04 18    13 16 32.6 +06 41 14   2.9190  3.8846   161.6     4.7  23.2
2015 04 19    13 15 50.2 +06 43 58   2.9223  3.8850   160.9     4.9  23.2
2015 04 20    13 15 08.1 +06 46 35   2.9259  3.8853   160.1     5.1  23.2
2015 04 21    13 14 26.3 +06 49 05   2.9298  3.8856   159.2     5.3  23.2
2015 04 22    13 13 44.8 +06 51 28   2.9340  3.8859   158.4     5.5  23.2
2015 04 23    13 13 03.7 +06 53 44   2.9384  3.8862   157.5     5.7  23.2
2015 04 24    13 12 23.1 +06 55 53   2.9432  3.8865   156.6     5.9  23.2
2015 04 25    13 11 42.8 +06 57 54   2.9482  3.8868   155.7     6.1  23.2
2015 04 26    13 11 03.0 +06 59 48   2.9535  3.8871   154.7     6.3  23.2
2015 04 27    13 10 23.7 +07 01 34   2.9590  3.8874   153.8     6.6  23.3
2015 04 28    13 09 44.9 +07 03 13   2.9649  3.8876   152.8     6.8  23.3
2015 04 29    13 09 06.6 +07 04 44   2.9709  3.8879   151.9     7.0  23.3
2015 04 30    13 08 29.0 +07 06 07   2.9773  3.8882   150.9     7.2  23.3


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Comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS) is at Opposition (2.373 AU) on the 12th February 2014



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Comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS) makes its closest approach to the Earth (2.366 AU) on the 5th February 2014



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Ephemeris

Date    TT    R. A. (2000) Decl.     Delta      r     Elong.  Phase   Mag
2014 02 04    10 07 21.8 +25 27 13   2.3667  3.3245   163.7     4.8  22.1
2014 02 05    10 06 34.4 +25 33 30   2.3664  3.3266   164.4     4.6  22.1
2014 02 06    10 05 46.4 +25 39 41   2.3664  3.3287   165.0     4.4  22.1
2014 02 07    10 04 58.0 +25 45 48   2.3667  3.3308   165.5     4.2  22.1
2014 02 08    10 04 09.2 +25 51 48   2.3673  3.3329   166.0     4.1  22.1
2014 02 09    10 03 20.1 +25 57 43   2.3682  3.3350   166.3     4.0  22.1
2014 02 10    10 02 30.6 +26 03 31   2.3694  3.3371   166.6     3.9  22.1
2014 02 11    10 01 40.9 +26 09 13   2.3709  3.3392   166.7     3.9  22.1
2014 02 12    10 00 51.0 +26 14 48   2.3727  3.3413   166.8     3.9  22.1
2014 02 13    10 00 01.0 +26 20 17   2.3748  3.3434   166.7     3.9  22.1
2014 02 14    09 59 10.8 +26 25 37   2.3772  3.3455   166.6     3.9  22.1
2014 02 15    09 58 20.6 +26 30 50   2.3799  3.3476   166.3     4.0  22.1
2014 02 16    09 57 30.4 +26 35 55   2.3829  3.3497   165.9     4.1  22.1
2014 02 17    09 56 40.3 +26 40 53   2.3862  3.3517   165.4     4.2  22.1
2014 02 18    09 55 50.2 +26 45 41   2.3898  3.3538   164.9     4.4  22.1
2014 02 19    09 55 00.3 +26 50 22   2.3937  3.3559   164.3     4.6  22.2
2014 02 20    09 54 10.6 +26 54 53   2.3979  3.3580   163.6     4.8  22.2
2014 02 21    09 53 21.2 +26 59 16   2.4023  3.3600   162.9     5.0  22.2
2014 02 22    09 52 32.1 +27 03 30   2.4071  3.3621   162.1     5.2  22.2
2014 02 23    09 51 43.3 +27 07 35   2.4121  3.3642   161.3     5.4  22.2
2014 02 24    09 50 54.9 +27 11 30   2.4175  3.3662   160.4     5.7  22.2
2014 02 25    09 50 07.0 +27 15 16   2.4231  3.3683   159.5     5.9  22.2
2014 02 26    09 49 19.5 +27 18 52   2.4290  3.3703   158.6     6.1  22.2
2014 02 27    09 48 32.6 +27 22 18   2.4352  3.3724   157.7     6.4  22.2
2014 02 28    09 47 46.4 +27 25 35   2.4416  3.3744   156.7     6.7  22.2


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WHT and GTC Follow Up Main Belt Comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS)

Since the dynamical association of the Apollo-type asteroid (3200) Phaethon with the Geminid meteor shower was made two decades ago, another 10 active asteroids have been discovered. Some originate in the main asteroid belt and thus are known as main belt comets (MBCs), one of the last discovered being P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS). Thanks to the possibility of target-of-opportunity observations at the WHT and GTC, a team of Spanish astronomers followed up its evolution and revealed the origin of its cometary activity.
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Title: Main-Belt Comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS)
Authors: Henry H. Hsieh, Heather M. Kaluna, Bojan Novakovic, Bin Yang, Nader Haghighipour, Marco Micheli, Larry Denneau, Alan Fitzsimmons, Robert Jedicke, Jan Kleyna, Peter Veres, Richard J. Wainscoat, Megan Ansdell, Garrett T. Elliott, Jacqueline V. Keane, Karen J. Meech, Nicholas A. Moskovitz, Timm E. Riesen, Scott S. Sheppard, Sarah Sonnett, David J. Tholen, Laurie Urban, Nick Kaiser, K. C. Chambers, William S. Burgett, Eugene A. Magnier, Jeffrey S. Morgan, Paul A. Price

We present initial results from observations and numerical analyses aimed at characterising main-belt comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS). Optical monitoring observations were made between October 2012 and February 2013 using the University of Hawaii 2.2 m telescope, the Keck I telescope, the Baade and Clay Magellan telescopes, Faulkes Telescope South, the Perkins Telescope at Lowell Observatory, and the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope. The object's intrinsic brightness approximately doubles from the time of its discovery in early October until mid-November and then decreases by ~60% between late December and early February, similar to photometric behaviour exhibited by several other main-belt comets and unlike that exhibited by disrupted asteroid (596) Scheila. We also used Keck to conduct spectroscopic searches for CN emission as well as absorption at 0.7 microns that could indicate the presence of hydrated minerals, finding an upper limit CN production rate of QCN<1.5x10^23 mol/s, from which we infer a water production rate of QH2O<5x10^25 mol/s, and no evidence of the presence of hydrated minerals. Numerical simulations indicate that P/2012 T1 is largely dynamically stable for >100 Myr and is unlikely to be a recently implanted interloper from the outer solar system, while a search for potential asteroid family associations reveal that it is dynamically linked to the ~155 Myr-old Lixiaohua asteroid family.

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Title: The dust environment of Main-Belt Comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS)
Authors: Fernando Moreno, Antonio Cabrera-Lavers, Ovidiu Vaduvescu, Javier Licandro, Francisco Pozuelos

Main-Belt Comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS) has been imaged using the 10.4m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) and the 4.2m William Herschel Telescope (WHT) at six epochs in the period from November 2012 to February 2013, with the aim of monitoring its dust environment. The dust tails brightness and morphology are best interpreted in terms of a model of sustained dust emission spanning 4 to 6 months. The total dust mass ejected is estimated at ~6--25 x 10^6 kg. We assume a time-independent power-law size distribution function, with particles in the micrometer to centimetre size range. Based on the quality of the fits to the isophote fields, an anisotropic emission pattern is favoured against an isotropic one, in which the particle ejection is concentrated toward high latitudes (±45° to ±90°) in a high obliquity object (I=80°). This seasonally-driven ejection behaviour, along with the modelled particle ejection velocities, are in remarkable agreement to those we found for P/2010 R2 (La Sagra) {Moreno11a}.

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Comet P/2012 T1 (PANSTARRS) mkes its closest approach to the Earth (1.444 AU) on the 5th November, 2012 



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