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Short-wavelength infrared (1.3-2.6 μm) observations of the nucleus of Comet 19P/Borrelly

January 1, 2004

During the last two minutes before closest approach of Deep Space 1 to Comet 19P/Borrelly, a long exposure was made with the short-wavelength infrared (SWIR) imaging spectrometer. The observation yielded 46 spectra covering 1.3–2.6 μm; the footprint of each spectrum was ∼160 m × width of the nucleus. Borrelly's highly variegated and extremely dark 8-km-long nucleus exhibits a strong red slope in its short-wavelength infrared reflection spectrum. This slope is equivalent to J–K and H–K colors of ∼0.82 and ∼0.43, respectively. Between 2.3–2.6 μm thermal emission is clearly detectable in most of the spectra. These data show the nucleus surface to be hot and dry; no trace of H2O ice was detected. The surface temperature ranged continuously across the nucleus from ⩽300 K near the terminator to a maximum of ∼340 K, the expected sub-solar equilibrium temperature for a slowly rotating body. A single absorption band at ∼2.39 μm is quite evident in all of the spectra and resembles features seen in nitrogen-bearing organic molecules that are reasonable candidates for compositional components of cometary nuclei. However as of yet the source of this band is unknown.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2004
Title Short-wavelength infrared (1.3-2.6 μm) observations of the nucleus of Comet 19P/Borrelly
DOI 10.1016/j.icarus.2003.08.019
Authors Laurence A. Soderblom, D.T. Britt, R. H. Brown, B. J. Buratti, Randolph L. Kirk, T.C. Owen, R.V. Yelle
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Icarus
Index ID 70027094
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center