We report on our analyses of mid- and far-IR imaging of comet 2P/Encke during its 57th recorded apparition. The comet passed only 0.19 AU from Earth on 4 July 1997, allowing us to obtain high-resolution imaging for the purposes of studying the nucleus and inner coma. Rarely is it possible to study these aspects of a comet in such detail at these wavelengths; indeed the comet had never before been imaged with such sophisticated infrared detectors at such a close distance. We observed the comet between 14 and 22 July with the TIMMI instrument on the ESO 3.6-m telescope and with the ISOPHOT instrument on the ISO spacecraft. We will emphasize our determination of the thermophysical properties of the nucleus -- size, rotation rate, temperature -- but we will also touch on characteristics of the dust coma. We will also place our results in context of previous studies of this comet.
AAS/Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting Abstracts #30
- Pub Date:
- September 1998