WISE/NEOWISE Observations of Active Bodies in the Main Belt

March 2012 • 2012ApJ...747...49B

Authors • Bauer, James M. • Mainzer, A. K. • Grav, Tommy • Walker, Russell G. • Masiero, Joseph R. • Blauvelt, Erin K. • McMillan, Robert S. • Fernández, Yan R. • Meech, Karen J. • Lisse, Carey M. • Cutri, Roc M. • Dailey, John W. • Tholen, David J. • Riesen, Timm • Urban, Laurie • Khayat, Alain • Pearman, George • Scotti, James V. • Kramer, Emily • Cherry, De'Andre • Gautier, Thomas • Gomillion, Stephanie • Watkins, Jessica • Wright, Edward L. • WISE Team

Abstract • We report results based on mid-infrared photometry of five active main belt objects (AMBOs) detected by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft. Four of these bodies, P/2010 R2 (La Sagra), 133P/Elst-Pizarro, (596) Scheila, and 176P/LINEAR, showed no signs of activity at the time of the observations, allowing the WISE detections to place firm constraints on their diameters and albedos. Geometric albedos were in the range of a few percent, and on the order of other measured comet nuclei. P/2010 A2 was observed on 2010 April 2-3, three months after its peak activity. Photometry of the coma at 12 and 22 μm combined with ground-based visible-wavelength measurements provides constraints on the dust particle mass distribution (PMD), dlog n/dlog m, yielding power-law slope values of α = -0.5 ± 0.1. This PMD is considerably more shallow than that found for other comets, in particular inbound particle fluence during the Stardust encounter of comet 81P/Wild 2. It is similar to the PMD seen for 9P/Tempel 1 in the immediate aftermath of the Deep Impact experiment. Upper limits for CO2 and CO production are also provided for each AMBO and compared with revised production numbers for WISE observations of 103P/Hartley 2.


IPAC Authors

Laurie Chu

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Roc Cutri

IPAC Deputy Director


Joe Masiero

Associate Scientist