During the last two minutes before closest approach of Deep Space 1 to Comet 19P/Borrelly, a long exposure was made with the short-wavelength infrared (SWIR) imaging spectrometer. The observation yielded 46 spectra covering 1.3–2.6 μm; the footprint of each spectrum was ∼160 m × width of the nucleus. Borrelly's highly variegated and extremely dark 8-km-long nucleus exhibits a strong red slope in its short-wavelength infrared reflection spectrum. This slope is equivalent to J–K and H–K colors of ∼0.82 and ∼0.43, respectively. Between 2.3–2.6 μm thermal emission is clearly detectable in most of the spectra. These data show the nucleus surface to be hot and dry; no trace of H2O ice was detected. The surface temperature ranged continuously across the nucleus from ⩽300 K near the terminator to a maximum of ∼340 K, the expected sub-solar equilibrium temperature for a slowly rotating body. A single absorption band at ∼2.39 μm is quite evident in all of the spectra and resembles features seen in nitrogen-bearing organic molecules that are reasonable candidates for compositional components of cometary nuclei. However as of yet the source of this band is unknown.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Short-wavelength infrared (1.3-2.6 μm) observations of the nucleus of Comet 19P/Borrelly|
|Contributing office(s)||Astrogeology Science Center|
|Other Geospatial||Comet Borrelly|
|Online Only (Y/N)||N|
|Additional Online Files (Y/N)||N|