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Water Production Rates from SOHO/SWAN Observations of Comets C/2020 S3 (Erasmus), C/2021 A1 (Leonard) and C/2021 O3 (PanSTARRS)

Presentation #411.06 in the session Cometary Volatiles (iPosters).

Published onOct 20, 2022
Water Production Rates from SOHO/SWAN Observations of Comets C/2020 S3 (Erasmus), C/2021 A1 (Leonard) and C/2021 O3 (PanSTARRS)

In 2021 and 2022 the hydrogen comae of three long period comets, C/2020 S3 (Erasmus), C/2021 A1 (Leonard) and C/2021 O3 (PanSTARRS) were observed with the Solar Wind ANisotropies (SWAN) all-sky hydrogen Lyman-alpha camera on the SOlar and Heliosphere Observer (SOHO) satellite. SWAN obtains nearly daily full-sky images of the hydrogen Lyman-alpha distribution of the interstellar hydrogen as it passes through the solar system yielding information about the solar wind and solar ultraviolet fluxes that eats away at it by ionization and charge exchange. The hydrogen comae of comets, when of sufficient brightness, are also observed. Water production rates have been calculated over time for each of these comets. Of particular interest is comet C/2021 O3 (PanSTARRS) which apparently disintegrated a few days before its perihelion at 0.28 au and C/2021 A1 (Leonard) whose activity also dropped precipitously after its perihelion peak when it also apparently disintegrated. The behavior of comet C/2020 S3 (Erasmus) was more typical without dramatic fading, but still was asymmetric about perihelion, with a more rapid turn on before perihelion but more extended activity well after perihelion.

This work was supported by NASA grant 80NSSC18K1005 from the Solar System Observations Program.

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