Photometry of dust grains of comet 67P and connection with nucleus regions

G. Cremonese, E. Simioni, R. Ragazzoni, I. Bertini, F. La Forgia, M. Pajola, N. Oklay, S. Fornasier, M. Lazzarin, A. Lucchetti, H. Sierks, C. Barbieri, P. Lamy, R. Rodrigo, D. Koschny, H. Rickman, H.U. Keller, M.F. AHearn, J. Agarwal, M.A. Barucci, J.L. Bertaux, V. Da Deppo, B. Davidsson, M. De Cecco, S. Debei, M. Fulle, O. Groussin, C. Guttler, P.J. Gutierrez, S.F. Hviid, W.H. Ip, L. Jorda, J. Knollenberg, J.R. Kramm, M. Kueppers, E. Kurt, L.M. Lara, S. Magrin, J.J. Lopez Moreno, F. Marzari, S. Mottola, G. Naletto, F. Preusker, F. Scholten, N. Thomas, C. Tubiana, J.B. Vincent. 2016. Photometry of dust grains of comet 67P and connection with nucleus regions. Astronomy and Astrophysics 588, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201527307

Multiple pairs of high-resolution images of the dust coma of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko have been collected by OSIRIS onboard Rosetta allowing extraction and analysis of dust grain tracks.

Methods. We developed a quasi automatic method to recognize and to extract dust tracks in the Osiris images providing size, FWHM and photometric data. The dust tracks characterized by a low signal-to-noise ratio were checked manually. We performed the photometric analysis of 70 dust grain tracks observed on two different Narrow Angle Camera images in the two filters F24 and F28, centered at lambda = 480.7 nm and at lambda = 743.7 nm, respectively, deriving the color and the reddening of each one. We then extracted several images of the nucleus observed with the same filters and with the same phase angle to be compared with the dust grain reddening.

Results. Most of the dust grain reddening is very similar to the nucleus values, confirming they come from the surface or subsurface layer. The histogram of the dust grain reddening has a secondary peak at negative values and shows some grains with values higher than the nucleus, suggesting a different composition from the surface grains. One hypothesis comes from the negative values point at the presence of hydrated minerals in the comet.

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