Diurnal variation of dust and gas production in comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at the inbound equinox as seen by OSIRIS and VIRTIS-M on board Rosetta

C. Tubiana, G. Rinaldi, C. Güttler, C. Snodgrass, X. Shi, X. Hu, R. Marschall, M. Fulle, D. Bockelée-Morvan, G. Naletto, F. Capaccioni, H. Sierks, G. Arnold, M. A. Barucci, J. -L. Bertaux, I. Bertini, D. Bodewits, M. T. Capria, M. Ciarniello, G. CremoneseJ. Crovisier, V. Da Deppo, S. Debei, M. De Cecco, J. Deller, M. C. De Sanctis, B. Davidsson, L. Doose, S. Erard, G. Filacchione, U. Fink, M. Formisano, S. Fornasier, P. J. Gutiérrez, W. -H. Ip, S. Ivanovski, D. Kappel, H. U. Keller, L. Kolokolova, D. Koschny, H. Krueger, F. La Forgia, P. L. Lamy, L. M. Lara, M. Lazzarin, A. C. Levasseur-Regourd, Z. -Y. Lin, A. Longobardo, J. J. López-Moreno, F. Marzari, A. Migliorini, S. Mottola, R. Rodrigo, F. Taylor, I. Toth, V. Zakharov

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On 27 Apr 2015, when 67P/C-G was at 1.76 au from the Sun and moving towards perihelion, the OSIRIS and VIRTIS-M instruments on Rosetta observed the evolving dust and gas coma during a complete rotation of the comet. We aim to characterize the dust, H2O and CO2 gas spatial distribution in the inner coma. To do this we performed a quantitative analysis of the release of dust and gas and compared the observed H2O production rate with the one calculated using a thermo-physical model. For this study we selected OSIRIS WAC images at 612 nm (dust) and VIRTIS-M image cubes at 612 nm, 2700 nm (H2O) and 4200 nm (CO2). We measured the average signal in a circular annulus, to study spatial variation around the comet, and in a sector of the annulus, to study temporal variation in the sunward direction with comet rotation, both at a fixed distance of 3.1 km from the comet centre. The spatial correlation between dust and water, both coming from the sun-lit side of the comet, shows that water is the main driver of dust activity in this time period. The spatial distribution of CO2 is not correlated with water and dust. There is no strong temporal correlation between the dust brightness and water production rate as the comet rotates. The dust brightness shows a peak at 0deg sub-solar longitude, which is not pronounced in the water production. At the same epoch, there is also a maximum in CO2 production. An excess of measured water production, with respect to the value calculated using a simple thermo-physical model, is observed when the head lobe and regions of the Southern hemisphere with strong seasonal variations are illuminated. A drastic decrease in dust production, when the water production (both measured and from the model) displays a maximum, happens when typical Northern consolidated regions are illuminated and the Southern hemisphere regions with strong seasonal variations are instead in shadow.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Early online date20 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


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