Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Follow-up of splitting event in Comet C/2011 J2

CBET 3979, issued on 2014 September 19, announced that observations of comet C/2011 J2 (LINEAR) (by F. Manzini, V. Oldani, A. Dan and R. Behrend) on Aug. 27.95, 28.85, and 30.91 UT led to the detection of a second, fainter, nuclear condensation (from now on Component B) located 0".8 east and 7".5 north of the main, brighter nuclear condensation (component A).

For more info about comet C/2011 J2 please see our May 2011 post on this blog by clicking here.

Whilst working on a long term morphology study on comet C/2012 K1 with N. Samarasinha and B. Mueller using the 2-meter Liverpool Telescope, we were alerted of the fragmentation event in comet C/2011 J2 and so diverted the telescope to this comet for a few days.

Our follow-up images were taken on 2014, Sept 26.9 through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD (La Palma-Liverpool Telescope). Stacking of 10 SDSS-R filtered exposures, 20-sec each, shows component B at 14" away in PA 17 from component A. Magnitude of component B is about R = 19.5

Below you can see our follow-up image that clearly shows comet C/2011 J2 (LINEAR) and its seconday B component. Click on it for a bigger version.

For some examples of past comet fragmentation events please check the following links:

UPDATE - October 05, 2014

In the video below we show a first attempt to measure component B drifting movement from the nucleus of comet C/2011 J2 on 2014, through a 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD (La Palma-Liverpool Telescope). Blinking the frames of Sept. 26.9 and Oct 02.9, there is evidence of fragment B moving off from the main comet component while profile graphs show that fragment is fading and less condensed. On Sept 26.9 the distance is of 14.4 arcsec. whilst on Oct. 2.9 the distance from the nucleus is of 15.6 arcsec. Click here to see a bigger version of the video.

by Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes & Martino Nicolini

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