The Hyperactivity and Dust Composition of the Comet Hartley 2
In November of 2010, NASA’s EPOXI mission completed a flyby of the short-period comet 103P/Hartley 2. This comet has a ‘hyperactive’ nucleus, which means that its water production rate is high relative to its surface area. A recent paper details mid-infrared spectra and images of the comet taken from Gemini-South near and after the EPOXI encounter. Analysis of the spectra and images from Gemini provide further details about the dust composition of Hartley 2 as compared to other short-period comets.
The study, “Hyperactivity and Dust Composition of Comet 103P/Hartley 2 During the EPOXI Encounter,” was published in the journal The Astronomical Journal. This work was supported by the Emerging Worlds Program. The NASA Astrobiology Program provides resources for Emerging Worlds and other Research and Analysis programs within the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) that solicit proposals relevant to astrobiology research.