Spatial and diurnal variation of water outgassing on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko observed from Rosetta/MIRO in August 2014

Abstract : Aims. We present the spatial and diurnal variation of water outgassing on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko using the (H2O)-O-16 rotational transition line at 556.936 GHz observed from Rosetta/MIRO in August 2014. Methods. The water line was analyzed with a non-LTE radiative transfer model and an optimal estimation method to retrieve the (H2O)-O-16 outgassing intensity, expansion velocity, and gas kinetic temperature. On August 7-9, 2014 and August 18-19, 2014, MIRO performed long steady nadir-pointing observations of the nucleus while it was rotating around its spin axis. The ground track of the MIRO beam during the observation was mostly on the northern hemisphere of comet 67P, covering its three distinct parts: the so-called head, body, and neck areas. Results. The MIRO spectral observation data show that the water-outgassing intensity varies by a factor of 30, from 0.1 x 1025 molecules s(-1) sr l to 3.0 x 10(25) molecules s(-1) sr, the terminal gas expansion velocity varies by 0.17 km s(-1) from 0.61 km s(-1) to 0.78 km s(-1), and the terminal gas temperature varies by 27 K from 47 K to 74 K. The retrieved coma parameters are co-registered with local environment variables such as the subsurface temperatures, measured in the MIRO continuum bands, the local solar time, illumination condition, and beam location on nucleus. The spatial variation of the outgassing activity is very noticeable, and the largest outgassing activity in August 2014 occurs near the neck region of the nucleus. The outgassing activity in the neck region is also found to be correlated with the local solar hour, which is related to the local illumination condition.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - 8:04:10 PM
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S. Lee, P. Allmen, M. Allen, G. Beaudin, N. Biver, et al.. Spatial and diurnal variation of water outgassing on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko observed from Rosetta/MIRO in August 2014. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2015, 583, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201526155⟩. ⟨hal-01439955⟩

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