BOPPS Observations of Oort Cloud Comets Siding and PanSTARRS

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 11:05 AM
Andrew F Cheng1, Charles Hibbitts1, Eliot F Young2, Pietro N Bernasconi3 and Kremic Tibor4, (1)JHU-APL, Laurel, MD, United States, (2)Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO, United States, (3)JHU APL, Laurel, MD, United States, (4)NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH, United States
The Balloon Observation Platform for Planetary Science (BOPPS) mission is a stratospheric balloon mission to conduct planetary science observations during a one-day flight from Ft. Sumner, NM in late September, 2014. BOPPS will fly an 80-cm telescope with two instruments to detect and characterize two Oort Cloud comets, C/2013 A1 Siding Spring and C/2012 K1 PanSTARRS. The BOPPS instruments [1,2] are the BOPPS Infrared Camera (BIRC), imaging at R band and from 2.5 to 5 microns, and the UVvis camera which includes a fine pointing system to demonstrate sub-arc second pointing and ability to obtain high SNR imaging at wavelengths near 300 nm sensitive to OH emission (1). The BIRC will image the comets in nine filter pass bands at 1.16 arc second per pixel resolution and will measure the strengths of H2O and CO2 emissions at 2.7µ and 4.3µ respectively. These are the primary volatiles driving cometary activity, and there is no alternative way to make these measurements from Earth or from space. The BIRC observations of Comet Siding Spring will occur about three weeks prior to the close approach of the comet to Mars, which will also be observed by the full constellation of Mars spacecraft. We will report initial results of BOPPS comet observations.

References: [1] Young EF et al. (2014), Fall AGU this session [2] Hibbitts et al., (2014), Fall AGU