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Surfaces of (Nearly) Dormant Comets and the Recent History of the Quadrantids

Presentation #514.01 in the session “Hints of Cometary Activity”.

Published onOct 26, 2020
Surfaces of (Nearly) Dormant Comets and the Recent History of the Quadrantids

The parent of the Quadrantid Meteor Shower is the inactive red Solar System small body (196256) 2003 EH1. EH1 is widely interpreted as a likely fragment and primary remnant of the bright comet C/1490 Y1 and as such it has likely only become dormant in the past half millennium. Compared to the other best-studied inactive meteor shower parent (3200) Phaethon, EH1 has received comparatively minimal characterization of its surface properties. We will present the first reflectance spectrum of EH1 as well as new spectra of the nuclei of three nearly dormant comets P/2006 HR30 (Siding Spring), 364P/PANSTARRS, and 249P/LINEAR for comparison. EH1’s spectrum is red in color below 0.8 microns in between C and D types, consistent with previous photometric measurements, but is blue beyond 0.8 microns until at least 1.02 microns. 249P and 364P have both red slopes consistent with C-types and HR30 has a classic comet nucleus D-type slope. We will discuss the interrelation between the dynamical histories and modern surfaces of these four objects to better understand the recent history of the Quadrantids and how comets become dormant.

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