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Search for water outgassing of (1) Ceres near perihelion
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2019 (English)In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, ISSN 0004-6361, E-ISSN 1432-0746, Vol. 628, article id A22Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Context. (1) Ceres is the largest body in the main asteroid belt and one of the most intriguing objects in the solar system, in part because of the discovery of water outgassing by the Herschel Space Observatory (HSO) and its still-debated origin. Ceres was the target of NASA's Dawn spacecraft for 3.5 yr, which achieved a detailed characterization of the dwarf planet. The possible influence of the local flux of solar energetic particles (SEP) on the production of a Cerean exosphere and water vapor has been suggested, in addition to the sublimation of water ice that depends on the temperature, meaning the heliocentric distance. Aims. We used the opportunity of both the perihelion passage of (1) Ceres in April 2018, and the presence of Dawn in its vicinity (for measuring the SEP flux in real time) to check the influence of heliocentric distance and SEP flux on water outgassing. Methods. We searched for OH emission lines near the limb of Ceres in the near-UV with the UVES spectrograph mounted on the 8-m ESO Very Large Telescope. Two spectra were recorded when Ceres was close to its perihelion, in February 2018, and with Dawn spacecraft orbiting Ceres. It was possible to simultaneously measure energetic particles around Ceres at the time of our observations. Results. Our observations did not permit detection of OH emission lines to a very high sensitivity level. This level is estimated to correspond to a global water production rate of QH2O ∼ 2 × 1026 molecules s-1, similar to the water production rate derived from HSO observations. The solar energetic particles flux measured around Ceres was negligible at the time of these observations. Conclusions. Our observations support the idea that heliocentric distance (i.e., the sublimation of water ice) does not play a major role in the water emission from Ceres. This production rate could be either related to SEP events or to other mechanisms, possibly of endogenic origin.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
EDP Sciences, 2019. Vol. 628, article id A22
Keywords [en]
Minor planets, asteroids: Individual: (1) Ceres
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-262548DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201935738ISI: 000477791100002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85070219481OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-262548DiVA, id: diva2:1366442
Note

QC 20191029

Available from: 2019-10-29 Created: 2019-10-29 Last updated: 2019-10-29Bibliographically approved

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Roth, Lorenz

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