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Asteroid (3200) Phaethon: results of polarimetric, photometric, and spectral observations
- Crimean Astrophysical Observatory, Crimea
- Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Astronomical Observatory, Ukraine
- Astronomical Institute, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovak Republic
- Main Astronomical Observatory, National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine
We present results of polarimetric, photometric, and spectral observations of the near-Earth asteroid (3200) Phaethon carried out at the 6-m BTA telescope of the Special Astrophysical Observatory and the 2.6-m and 1.25-m telescopes of the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory over a wide range of phase angles during its close approach to the Earth at the end of 2017 (α = 19°-135°) and in 2020 at α = 52.2°. Using our and other available in literature data, we found that the maximum degree of linear polarization of Phaethon in the V band is Pmax = (45 ± 1) per cent at the phase angle αmax = 124.0° ± 0.4°, whereas the inversion angle αinv = 21.4° ± 1.2° and polarimetric slope is h = (0.326 ± 0.027) per cent per degree. Using the dependence 'polarimetric slope - albedo,' we have found the geometric albedo of asteroid Phaethon to be pv = 0.060 ± 0.005. This value falls into the lower range of albedo values for asteroids determined by different methods. The mean colour indices U-B = 0.207 m ± 0.053 m and B-V = 0.639 m ± 0.054 m of the asteroid are derived at heliocentric and geocentric distances 1.077 au and 0.102 au, respectively, and phase angle α = 23.78°. The absolute magnitude of Phaethon is V(1,1,0) = 14.505 m ± 0.059 m. The effective diameter of Phaethon is estimated from obtained absolute magnitude and geometrical albedo, it is equal to 6.8 ± 0.3 km. The best fit to the observed polarimetric data was obtained with the Sh-matrix model of conjugated random Gaussian particles composed of Mg-rich silicate (90 per cent) and amorphous carbon (10 per cent).
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Published)
DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stac1559 arXiv: 2206.00911
On the dust of tailless Oort-cloud comet C/2020 T2 (Palomar)
- IGeP/Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany
- IPAC/California Institute of Technology, USA
We report our new analysis of Oort-cloud comet C/2020 T2 (Palomar) (T2) observed at 2.06 au from the Sun (phase angle of 28.5 deg) about two weeks before perihelion. T2 lacks a significant dust tail in scattered light, showing a strong central condensation of the coma throughout the apparition, reminiscent of so-called Manx comets. Its spectral slope of polarized light increases and decreases in the J (1.25 um) and H (1.65 um) bands, respectively, resulting in an overall negative (blue) slope (-0.31+/-0.14 % um^-1) in contrast to the red polarimetric color of active comets observed at similar geometries. The average polarization degree of T2 is 2.86+/-0.17 % for the J and 2.75+/-0.16 % for the H bands. Given that near-infrared wavelengths are sensitive to the intermediate-scale structure of cometary dust (i.e., dust aggregates), our light-scattering modeling of ballistic aggregates with different porosities and compositions shows that polarimetric properties of T2 are compatible with low-porosity (~66 %), absorbing dust aggregates with negligible ice contents on a scale of 10–100 um (density of ~652 kg m^-3). This is supported by the coma morphology of T2 which has a viable beta (the relative importance of solar radiation pressure on dust) range of <~10^-4. Secular evolution of the r-band activity of T2 from archival data reveals that the increase in its brightness accelerates around 2.4 au pre-perihelion, with its overall dust production rate ~100 times smaller than those of active Oort-cloud comets. We also found an apparent concentration of T2 and Manx comets toward ecliptic orbits. This paper underlines the heterogeneous nature of Oort-cloud comets which can be investigated in the near future with dedicated studies of their dust characteristics.
Astronomy & Astrophysics (In press)