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Nucleus of the active Centaur C/2011 P2 (PANSTARRS)

Abstract :
Aims: In this paper we present observations of the active Centaur C/2011 P2 (PANSTARRS), showing a compact comet-like coma at the heliocentric distance of rh = 9 au. The observations were obtained in the framework of a wider program on Centaurs aimed at searching for comet-like activity in several targets outside Jupiter's aphelion.
Methods: We analysed visible images of the Centaur taken at the TNG telescope in the R filter to investigate the level of coma contributing to the target brightness and to derive information on its nucleus size.
Results: Centaur C/2011 P2 (PANSTARRS) shows a faint but still detectable comet-like activity, which accounts for more than 50% to the observed brightness. The coma contribution has been subtracted in order to derive an estimate for the Centaur's diameter of D 16 km, assuming an albedo of A = 0.07 (average of albedo measured within the Centaur group). The results for Centaur C/2011 P2 (PANSTARRS) fit in the general picture of the group: Centaurs with smaller perihelion distance q and semi-major axis a are smaller than those remaining farther from the Sun during their orbital path, thus reinforcing the idea that active Centaurs are "comets in fieri".
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Submitted on : Sunday, September 25, 2022 - 5:07:06 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, September 25, 2022 - 5:07:07 PM

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E. Mazzotta Epifani, D. Perna, E. Dotto, P. Palumbo, M. Dall’ora, et al.. Nucleus of the active Centaur C/2011 P2 (PANSTARRS). Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2017, 597, pp.A59. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201628405⟩. ⟨obspm-02268113⟩

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