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Astron. Astrophys. 354, 1086-1090 (2000)

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Comet P/Gehrels 3: spectroscopic observations and nucleus models

M.C. De Sanctis 1, M. Lazzarin 2, M.A. Barucci 3, M.T. Capria 1 and A. Coradini 1

1 Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale, CNR, Via del Fosso del Cavaliere, Rome, Italy
2 Dipartimento di Astronomia, Vic. dell'Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
3 Observatoire de Paris, 92195 Meudon Principal Cedex, France

Received 9 August 1999 / Accepted 14 December 1999


In the framework of an observational campaign for increasing the knowledge on the relationship between cometary nuclei and asteroids, we performed spectroscopic observations of P/Gehrels 3. The Jupiter family comet P/Gehrels 3 moves on a particular orbit, with a very high Tisserand invariant with respect to Jupiter, that makes the encounters with the planet very effective. This implies that the comet spends part of its life as a temporary satellite of Jupiter, on an orbit that shows similarity with those of Trojans. This comet has been observed when it was far from the Sun, with the aim to acquire data on the nucleus status. In order to study from a theoretical point of view the possible status and evolution of a body on this orbit we have developed different nucleus models using a numerical code for the thermal evolution of the nucleus.

Key words: comets: general – comets: individual: P/Gehrels 3

Send offprint requests to: M.C. De Sanctis

Correspondence to: cristina@saturn.ias.rm.cnr.it

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: February 25, 2000