DPS 34th Meeting, October 2002
Session 27. Comet Nuclei
Oral, Chair(s): C. Lisse and Y.R. Fernandez, Thursday, October 10, 2002, 2:00-4:00pm, Ballroom

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[27.06] New Dominant Periodicity in Photometry of Comet Encke

Y.R. Fernandez (UH-IfA), S.C. Lowry, P.R. Weissman (JPL), K.J. Meech (UH-IfA)

We report photometry of the nucleus of Comet 2P/Encke taken during the summer of 2001. We will discuss the light curve and photometric behavior, their implications for the rotation period as well as their context with older published data. In addition we shall discuss data that are to be obtained in the summer of 2002. Specifically, we find the following: (a) The dominant periodicity appears to be 11.0 to 11.1 hours with evidence for a 7.3-hour periodicity at a different epoch. These are different than the previously-found value of 15.1 hours which appeared in data from the 1980s, so it may be evidence for Encke having a complex rotation state. (b) Encke's light curve displays two asymmetric peaks, one with a peak-to-valley amplitude of about 0.5 mag and the other of only about 0.1 mag. The widths of the peaks are different as well. Previous data showed peaks of nearly equal shape. (c) Encke continues to be anomalously bright at large heliocentric distances despite appearing as a point source.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.