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Astron. Astrophys. 349, 649-659 (1999)

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CCD photometry of distant comets

S.C. Lowry 1, A. Fitzsimmons 1, I.M. Cartwright 1 and I.P. Williams 2

1 APS Division, Department of Pure and Applied Physics, The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK
2 Astronomy Unit, School of Mathematical Sciences, Queen Mary and Westfield College, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK

Received 25 January 1999 / Accepted 19 July 1999


While it is apparent that many comets are active beyond the canonical distance of 3 AU, few surveys of cometary activity have been performed in this region previously. Such a survey enables a more accurate determination of the proportion of comets that exhibit little or no outgassing at these distances. Results are presented of CCD observations of comets in the region of 3 AU [FORMULA] Rh [FORMULA] 6 AU obtained with the 1m JKT on La Palma. Photometric observations of 15 comets were obtained, 7 of which displayed coma activity and 8 of which appeared inactive. BVR photometry was performed on these comets to determine dimensions, colours and outgassing rates. Although 40P/Vaisala 1 and 26P/Grigg-Skjellerup were not detected, upper limits to their nuclear radii are presented. The results obtained are compared with previous observations.

Key words: techniques: photometric – comets: general

Send offprint requests to: Stephen.Lowry@qub.ac.uk

Correspondence to: Stephen.Lowry@qub.ac.uk

This article contains no SIMBAD objects.


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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: September 2, 1999