Context. The study of distant comets, which are active at large heliocentric distances, is important for a better understanding of their physical properties and mechanisms of long-lasting activity.
Aims: We analyzed the dust environment of the distant comet C/2014 A4 (SONEAR), with a perihelion distance near 4.1 au, using comprehensive observations obtained by different methods.
Methods: We present an analysis of spectroscopy, photometry, and polarimetry of comet C/2014 A4 (SONEAR), which were performed on November 5-7, 2015, when its heliocentric distance was 4.2 au and phase angle was 4.7°. Long-slit spectra and photometric and linear polarimetric images were obtained using the focal reducer SCORPIO-2 attached to the prime focus of the 6 m telescope BTA (SAO RAS, Russia). We simulated the behavior of color and polarization in the coma presenting the cometary dust as a set of polydisperse polyshapes rough spheroids.
Results: No emission features were detected in the 3800-7200 Å wavelength range. The continuum showed a reddening effect with the normalized gradient of reflectivity 21.6 ± 0.2% per 1000 Å within the 4650-6200 Å wavelength region. The fan-like structure in the sunward hemisphere was detected. The radial profiles of surface brightness differ for r-sdss and g-sdss filters, indicating a predominance of submicron and micron-sized particles in the cometary coma. The dust color (g-r) varies from 0.75 ± 0.05m to 0.45 ± 0.06m along the tail. For an aperture radius near 20 000 km, the dust productions in various filters were estimated as Afρ = 680 ± 18 cm (r-sdss) and 887 ± 16 cm (g-sdss). The polarization map shows spatial variations in polarization over the coma from about -3% near the nucleus to -8% at a cometocentric distance of about 150 000 km. Our simulations show that the dust particles are dominated (or covered) by ice and tholin-like organics. Spatial changes in the color and polarization can be explained by particle fragmentation.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- June 2019
- comets: general;
- comets: individual: C/2014 A4 (SONEAR);
- methods: miscellaneous;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- 14 pages, 10 figures, 3 tables