P/2006 HR30 (Siding spring): a low-activity comet in near-earth space.
HICKS M.D. and BAUER J.M.
Abstract (from CDS):
The low cometary activity of P/2006 HR30 (Siding Spring) allowed a unique opportunity to study the nucleus of a periodic comet while near perihelion. P/2006 HR30 was originally targeted as a potential extinct comet, and we measured spectral reflectance and dust production using long-slit CCD spectroscopy and wide-field imaging obtained at the Palomar Mountain 200 inch telescope on 2006 August 3 and 4. The dust production Afρ=19.7±0.4 cm and mass-loss rate Qdust=4.1±0.1 kg/s of the comet were approximately 2 orders of magnitude less than 1P/Halley at similar heliocentric distance. The VRI colors derived from the spectral reflectance were compared to Kuiper Belt objects, Centaurs, and other cometary nuclei. We found that the spectrum of P/2006 HR30 was consistent with other comets. However, the outer solar system bodies have a color distribution statistically distinct from cometary nuclei. It is our conjecture that cometary activity, most likely the reaccretion of ejected cometary dust, tends to moderate and mute the visible colors of the surface of cometary nuclei.
Comets: General - comets: individual (P/2006 HR30) - Kuiper Belt - Minor Planets, Asteroids - Solar System: Formation