Wise/neowise observations of comet 103P/hartley 2

James M. Bauer, Russell G. Walker, A. K. Mainzer, Joseph R. Masiero, Tommy Grav, John W. Dailey, Robert S. McMillan, Carey M. Lisse, Yan R. Fernández, Karen J. Meech, Jana Pittichova, Erin K. Blauvelt, Frank J. Masci, Michael F. A'Hearn, Roc M. Cutri, James V. Scotti, David J. Tholen, Emily Debaun, Ashlee Wilkins, Emma HandEdward L. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We report results based on mid-infrared photometry of comet 103P/Hartley 2 taken during 2010 May 4-13 (when the comet was at a heliocentric distance of 2.3AU, and an observer distance of 2.0AU) by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. Photometry of the coma at 22 μm and data from the University of Hawaii 2.2 m telescope obtained on 2010 May 22 provide constraints on the dust particle size distribution, d log n/d log m, yielding power-law slope values of alpha = -0.97 0.10, steeper than that found for the inbound particle fluence during the Stardust encounter of comet 81P/Wild 2. The extracted nucleus signal at 12 μm is consistent with a body of average spherical radius of 0.6 0.2km (one standard deviation), assuming a beaming parameter of 1.2. The 4.6 μm band signal in excess of dust and nucleus reflected and thermal contributions may be attributed to carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide emission lines and provides limits and estimates of species production. Derived carbon dioxide coma production rates are 3.5(±0.9) × 1024 molecules per second. Analyses of the trail signal present in the stacked image with an effective exposure time of 158.4 s yields optical-depth values near 9 × 10-10 at a delta mean anomaly of 0.2 deg trailing the comet nucleus, in both 12 and 22 μm bands. A minimum chi-squared analysis of the dust trail position yields a beta-parameter value of 1.0 × 10-4, consistent with a derived mean trail-grain diameter of 1.1/ρcm for grains of ρgcm-3 density. This leads to a total detected trail mass of at least 4 × 1010 ρkg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number171
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 10 2011


  • comets: individual (103P/Hartley 2)
  • infrared: planetary systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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