NEOWISE Observations of Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) as It Approaches Mars

January 2015 • 2015ApJ...798L..31S

Authors • Stevenson, R. • Bauer, J. M. • Cutri, R. M. • Mainzer, A. K. • Masci, F. J.

Abstract • The Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission observed comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) three times at 3.4 μm and 4.6 μm as the comet approached Mars in 2014. The comet is an extremely interesting target since its close approach to Mars in late 2014 will be observed by various spacecraft in situ. The observations were taken in 2014 January, July, and September when the comet was at heliocentric distances of 3.82 AU, 1.88 AU, and 1.48 AU. The level of activity increased significantly between the January and July visits but then decreased by the time of the observations in September, approximately four weeks prior to its close approach to Mars. In this work, we calculate Afρ values and CO/CO2 production rates.


IPAC Authors

Roc Cutri

IPAC Deputy Director