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Post Info TOPIC: Comet P/2013 R3 (Catalina-PANSTARRS)


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RE: Comet P/2013 R3 (Catalina-PANSTARRS)
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Title: Anatomy of an Asteroid Break-Up: The Case of P/2013 R3
Author: Dave Jewitt, Jessica Agarwal, Jing Li, Harold Weaver, Max Mutchler, Stephen Larson

We present an analysis of new and published data on P/2013 R3, the first asteroid detected while disintegrating. Thirteen discrete components are measured in the interval between UT 2013 October 01 and 2014 February 13. We determine a mean, pair-wise velocity dispersion amongst these components of Delta v=0.33±0.03 m s^-1 and find that their separation times are staggered over an interval of ~5 months. Dust enveloping the system has, in the first observations, a cross-section ~30 km² but fades monotonically at a rate consistent with the action of radiation pressure sweeping. The individual components exhibit comet-like morphologies and also fade except where secondary fragmentation is accompanied by the release of additional dust. We find only upper limits to the radii of any embedded solid nuclei, typically ~100 to 200 m (geometric albedo 0.05 assumed). Combined, the components of P/2013 R3 would form a single spherical body with radius \lesssim 400 m, which is our best estimate of the size of the precursor object. The observations are consistent with rotational disruption of a weak (cohesive strength ~50 to 100 N m^-2) parent body, ~400 m in radius. Estimated radiation (YORP) spin-up times of this parent are \lesssim 1 Myr, shorter than the collisional lifetime. If present, water ice sublimating at as little as 10^-3 kg s^-1 could generate a torque on the parent body rivaling the YORP torque. Under conservative assumptions about the frequency of similar disruptions, the inferred asteroid debris production rate is \gtrsim 10³ kg s^-1, which is at least 4% of the rate needed to maintain the Zodiacal Cloud.

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Comet P/2013 R3 (Catalina-PANSTARRS) is at Opposition (2.382 AU) on the 19th January 2015



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NASA's Hubble Telescope Witnesses Asteroid's Mysterious Disintegration

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has recorded the never-before-seen break-up of an asteroid into as many as 10 smaller pieces.
Fragile comets, comprised of ice and dust, have been seen falling apart as they near the sun, but nothing like this has ever before been observed in the asteroid belt.

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Astronomers Puzzle Over Newfound Asteroid That Acts Like a Comet

The main-belt comet, designated P/2013 R3, was discovered in September at two observatories: the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona and the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii. Only a dozen or so main-belt comets have been discovered, so astronomers quickly took to the world's largest telescopes to get a better look at the rare object. Jewitt examined P/2013 R3 with the 10-meter Keck 1 telescope in Hawaii, whereas astrophysicist Javier Licandro of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands and his colleagues used the institution's 10.4-meter Gran Telescopio Canarias. Both saw that the object was different than all other main-belt comets discovered so far.
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Comet P/2013 R3 (Catalina-PANSTARRS) is at Opposition (1.234 AU) on the 4th October, 2013.

Ephemeris

Date    TT    R. A. (2000) Decl.     Delta      r     Elong.  Phase   Mag
2013 10 01    00 42 49.0 +05 25 08   1.2319  2.2316   175.8     1.9  17.9
2013 10 02    00 42 04.0 +05 20 55   1.2324  2.2325   176.9     1.4  17.9
2013 10 03    00 41 18.8 +05 16 41   1.2331  2.2335   178.0     0.9  17.9
2013 10 04    00 40 33.7 +05 12 25   1.2341  2.2344   179.0     0.4  17.9
2013 10 05    00 39 48.6 +05 08 10   1.2354  2.2354   179.0     0.4  18.0
2013 10 06    00 39 03.7 +05 03 54   1.2369  2.2364   178.1     0.9  18.0
2013 10 07    00 38 19.0 +04 59 38   1.2386  2.2374   177.0     1.4  18.0
2013 10 08    00 37 34.6 +04 55 24   1.2406  2.2384   175.8     1.9  18.0
2013 10 09    00 36 50.7 +04 51 11   1.2429  2.2394   174.6     2.4  18.0
2013 10 10    00 36 07.1 +04 47 00   1.2454  2.2404   173.5     2.9  18.0
2013 10 11    00 35 24.2 +04 42 51   1.2481  2.2415   172.3     3.4  18.0
2013 10 12    00 34 41.8 +04 38 45   1.2511  2.2425   171.1     3.9  18.0
2013 10 13    00 34 00.1 +04 34 42   1.2544  2.2436   169.9     4.5  18.0
2013 10 14    00 33 19.1 +04 30 44   1.2579  2.2447   168.8     5.0  18.0
2013 10 15    00 32 39.0 +04 26 49   1.2616  2.2458   167.6     5.5  18.0
2013 10 16    00 31 59.7 +04 22 58   1.2656  2.2470   166.4     6.0  18.0
2013 10 17    00 31 21.3 +04 19 13   1.2699  2.2481   165.3     6.5  18.0
2013 10 18    00 30 43.9 +04 15 33   1.2743  2.2492   164.1     7.0  18.0
2013 10 19    00 30 07.5 +04 11 58   1.2790  2.2504   163.0     7.4  18.1
2013 10 20    00 29 32.2 +04 08 29   1.2840  2.2516   161.8     7.9  18.1
2013 10 21    00 28 58.1 +04 05 07   1.2892  2.2528   160.7     8.4  18.1
2013 10 22    00 28 25.1 +04 01 51   1.2946  2.2540   159.5     8.9  18.1
2013 10 23    00 27 53.3 +03 58 42   1.3002  2.2552   158.4     9.3  18.1
2013 10 24    00 27 22.8 +03 55 40   1.3061  2.2565   157.3     9.8  18.1
2013 10 25    00 26 53.5 +03 52 46   1.3122  2.2577   156.1    10.3  18.1
2013 10 26    00 26 25.7 +03 50 00   1.3185  2.2590   155.0    10.7  18.1
2013 10 27    00 25 59.2 +03 47 21   1.3250  2.2603   153.9    11.2  18.2
2013 10 28    00 25 34.1 +03 44 51   1.3318  2.2616   152.8    11.6  18.2
2013 10 29    00 25 10.4 +03 42 30   1.3387  2.2629   151.7    12.0  18.2
2013 10 30    00 24 48.3 +03 40 17   1.3459  2.2642   150.6    12.4  18.2
2013 10 31    00 24 27.6 +03 38 13   1.3533  2.2656   149.5    12.8  18.2


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