DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 39. KBO and Centaurs II
Poster, Highlighted on, Friday, September 5, 2003, 3:30-6:00pm, Sierra Ballroom I-II

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[39.12] Search for Cometary Activity in KBO 24952

K. J. Meech (IfA/UH), O. R. Hainaut (ESO), H. Boehnhardt (MPI-Heidelberg), A. Delsanti (Univ. Paris, Meudon)

There have been many hypotheses for the large color diversity among Kuiper belt objects. Our group has been investigating the effects of active outgassing (e.g. cometary activity) on the color distributions. There is evidence for activity in Centaurs, and possible indirect evidence for outgassing in KBOs. There are a handful of KBOs with neutral blue colors with respect to the sun, which may represent a fresher surface, either from collision or volatile activity. KBO 24952 (1997 QJ4) was selected as our target because of its intrinsically blue color, V-R = 0.296. During October 2002 we conducted a very sensitive search for direct evidence of outgassing in the form of a cometary dust comae in KBO 24952 using the Subaru 8m telescope and SuprimeCam 10x8K mosaic on Mauna Kea. 13200 sec of observations of 400 sec each were obtained under photometric conditions on UT 2002 Oct 3, and 10,400 sec through cloud on 2002 Oct. 4. The Kuiper belt object exihibited a clear rotational signature with amplitude of at least 0.3 mag and period >4 hours. The light curve range corresponds to a minimum projected axis ratio of 1.3. We placed sensitive upper limits on the dust production from the object at Q < 0.01 kg/s. We will compare this to the activity in the 6 other KBOs and Centaurs with known or suspected activity and discuss the implications for mechanisms for activity. This work was supported by a grant from NASA NAG5-12236.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.