DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 31. Cometary Nuclei and Dynamics
Oral, Chairs: D. Scheeres, C. Lisse, Thursday, November 29, 2001, 2:40-4:20pm, Regency E

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[31.01] The Nucleus of 10 Short-Period Comets

P.L. Lamy (Laboratoire d'Astronomie Spatiale, France), I. Toth (Konkoly Observatory, Hungary), H.A. Weaver (Johns Hopkins University), C.E. Delahodde, L. Jorda (Laboratoire d'Astronomie Spatiale, France), M.F. A'Hearn (University of Maryland)

We report on the successful detection and extensive characterization of the nuclei of 10 short-period comets with the Hubble Space Telescope: 47P/Ashbrook-Jackson, 61P/Shajn-Schaldach, 70P/Kojima, 74P/Smirnova-Chernikh, 76P/West-Kohoutek-Ikemura, 82P/Gehrels 3, 86P/Wild 3, 87P/Bus, 110P/Hartley 3, 147P/Kushida-Muramatsu. The observations were performed with the Planetary Camera of WFPC2 during cycle 9, between July 2000 and June 2001. Each comet was observed eight times over a time span of about 12 hours through different filters, up to three (V, R, I) for the brightest ones. The sizes were determined assuming a geometric albedo of 0.04 for the R band and a phase law of 0.04 mag/deg. We confirm our past findings that cometary nuclei are generally extremely small; the radius of 147P/Kushida-Muramatsu was only 0.13 km. We also present the results for the colors and the lightcurves of the nuclei and discuss the implications for their shape and rotational state.

This work was supported by grants from the Universite de Provence, from C.N.E.S., C.N.R.S. (France), from the Hungarian Academy of Science and from NASA through grant HST-GO-08699.01-A from the STScI.

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