The nucleus of 19/P Borrelly as revealed by deep space 1

B. Buratti, M. Hicks, L. Soderblom, D. Britt, D. Boice, R. Brown, R. Nelson, J. Oberst, T. Owen, B. Sandel, S. A. Stern, N. Thomas, R. Yelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Deep Space 1 encounter with comet 19/P Borrelly offered the first close-up view of a comet unobscured by dust. The geometric albedo of the comet is 0.029±0.006 (with a size of 8.0 × 3.15 km), comparable to the low-albedo hemisphere of Iapetus, the lowest albedo C-type asteroids, and the Uranian rings. Albedo variegations on the body are substantial, far greater than on the handful of asteroids so far scrutinized by spacecraft. The Bond albedo of Borrelly is 0.009 ± 0.002, the lowest of any object in the Solar System. The physical photometric parameters of the comet are similar to asteroids, but the optically active portion of its regolith may be fluffier. Differences in macroscopic roughness exist on its surface: the older regions appear to be slightly less rough, as if low-lying regions are infilled with native dust. Regional differences in the single particle phase function exist, with small regions exhibiting almost isotropic functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-547
Number of pages3
JournalEuropean Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP
Issue number500
StatePublished - Jul 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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