Possible Dust Models for C/2012 S1

Monday, 15 December 2014
Padma A Yanamandra-Fisher, Space Science Institute Rancho Cucamonga, Rancho Cucamonga, CA, United States
Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) provided a great opportunity to study a dynamically new Oort-cloud comet on its initial and only passage through the inner solar system. Contrary to expectations, the comet’s activity fluctuated from high through a quiescent phase, and a major outburst days before its perihelion passage, ending in a dramatic race to complete disintegration on perihelion day, 28 November 2013. Amateur observations to professional ground-based, sub-orbital telescopes indicate the various changes of visible factors such as Afrho, a proxy for dust activity, and the measured production rates for water, consistent with the disintegration of the nucleus. Hines et al. (2013; ApJ Lett. 780) detected positive polarization in the inner coma and negative polarization in the outer coma, indicative of a jet, independently confirmed by Li et al. (2013, ApJ Lett., 779). Thermal emission observations of the comet pre-perihelion from NAOJ/Subaru/COMICS, a mid-infrared spectrometer, indicated a body with an equivalent brightness temperature of 265K (Ootsubo et al., 2013, ACM, Helsinki,FI); thermal observations acquired at the NASA/Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) with The Aerospace Corporation spectrometer (BASS, PI. R. Russell), before and after the November 12, 2013 outburst observed by the CIOC_ISON amateur network, indicates a brightness temperature of 330K and the presence, albeit weak, of the 11.3-micron crystalline silicate feature (Sitko et al., 2014, LPI abstract 1537). A Monte Carlo comet dust tail model, applied to extract the dust environment parameters of comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) from both Earth-based and Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) calibrated observations, performed from about 6 AU (inbound), to right after perihelion passage, when just a small portion of the original comet nucleus survived in the form of a cloud of tiny particles, indicates that particles underwent disintegration and fragmentation (Moreno et al., 2014, ApJ Lett., 791). Ongoing work on possible dust models that incorporate both the observed polarization and thermal emission will be discussed.