2009 Annual Science Report
University of Hawaii, Manoa Reporting | JUL 2008 – AUG 2009
Main Belt Comet P/2008 R1 Garradd Characterization
We identified P/2008 R1 as a main-belt comet (previously mis-classified as an ordinary Jupiter-family comet) and mounted an observational program to assess its physical properties, and a dynamical campaign to understand its orbit.
Main-belt comets are objects with the dynamical characteristics of an asteroid and the physical characteristics of a comet (see Figure 1). P/2008 R1 is a newly-discovered comet and is identified as the 4th MBC. We obtained limits to its size (500 m) and mass loss rate (< 1 kg/s). Unlike the previously reported MBCs, P/2008R1 is dynamically unstable with a lifetime of ~ 20-30Myr (see Figure 2). P/2008R1, as a new type of MBC, must have been recently emplaced from a longer-lived source elsewhere, perhaps in the outer belt. The work is already published as
D. Jewitt, B. Yang and N. Haghighipour (2009). Main-Belt Comet P/2008 R1 (Garradd). Astronomical Journal, 137, 4313-4321.
PROJECT MEMBERS:Nader Haghighipour
RELATED OBJECTIVES:Objective 1.1
Formation and evolution of habitable planets.
Outer Solar System exploration
Sources of prebiotic materials and catalysts