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2017MNRAS.468.2897D - Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 468, 2897-2909 (2017/July-1)

New limits to CO outgassing in Centaurs.


Abstract (from CDS):

Centaurs are small Solar system objects orbiting between Jupiter and Neptune. They are widely believed to be escapees from the trans-Neptunian region on their way to become Jupiter-family comets. Indeed, some Centaurs exhibit the characteristic cometary appearance. The sublimation of carbon monoxide has been proposed as a driver of activity in distant comets, but no strong detection of gaseous CO in a Centaur other than 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 has been reported to date. Here we report the results of a deep search for CO outgassing in three Centaurs: (315898), (342842), and (382004). Our survey was carried out using the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory on nine nights in late 2011. The targeted rotational line J(2-1) of CO is undetected in all three objects in spite of high instrumental sensitivity. We find the model-dependent 3σ upper limits to the CO production rate of 2.13 x 1027 molecules s–1 for (315898), 1.32 x 1027 molecules s–1 for (342842), and 1.17 x 1027 molecules s–1 for (382004), which are among the most sensitive obtained to date. These upper limits are consistently analysed in the context of published CO data of 14 Centaurs and one well-observed long-period comet, C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp), and support an earlier suggestion that the surfaces of most Centaurs are not dominated by exposed CO ice.

Abstract Copyright: © 2016 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society

Journal keyword(s): comets: general - Kuiper belt: general - minor planets, asteroids: individual: 315898 - minor planets, asteroids: individual: 342842 - planets, asteroids: individual: 382004 - radio lines: general - radio lines: general

Simbad objects: 2

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