36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 28 Asteroid Physical Properties I
Oral, Thursday, November 11, 2004, 10:30am-12:00noon, Clark

[Previous] | [Session 28] | [Next]

[28.02] Activity in the Asteroid Belt: An Optical Survey

H. H. Hsieh, D. C. Jewitt (U. Hawaii - IfA)

The apparent Themis family asteroid 7968 Elst-Pizarro (hereafter EP) displayed comet-like activity, in the form of a transient but long-lived dust trail, in data from both 1996 and 2002. EP's dust ejection is most likely driven by the sublimation of an exposed patch of volatile material, presumably water ice (Hsieh et al. 2004). Thus, either (1) EP is a barely active comet that has evolved onto its current orbit via the action of non-gravitational forces, or (2) EP is a native member of the Themis family on which buried ice has been recently exposed. EP's observational uniqueness currently favors the first hypothesis, but meanwhile, the second interpretation raises the possibility that other asteroids in the main belt might hold bulk ice and could therefore also present EP-like activity.

We are conducting a deep optical survey of selected main-belt asteroids in search of EP-like objects using the University of Hawaii 2.2-meter telescope on Mauna Kea. We will present interim results of this on-going survey.

Reference: Hsieh, H.H., Jewitt, D.C., & Fernandez, Y.R. 2004. AJ 127, 2997.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/~hsieh/elstpiz.html. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: hsieh@ifa.hawaii.edu

[Previous] | [Session 28] | [Next]

Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.