Visible and near-infrared observations of interstellar comet 2I/Borisov with the 10.4-m GTC and the 3.6-m TNG telescopes



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Leon, Julia de and Licandro Goldaracena, Javier and Fuente Marcos, Carlos de la and Fuente Marcos, Raúl de la and Lara López, Luisa M. and Moreno, Fernando and Pinilla-Alonso, Noemi and Serra-Ricart, M. and De Pra, Mario and Tozzi, G. P. and Souza-Feliciano, Ana Carolina de and Popescu, M. and Scarpa, R. and Font Serra, J. and Geier, S. and Lorenzi, V. and Harutyunyan, A. and Cabrera-Lavers, A. (2020) Visible and near-infrared observations of interstellar comet 2I/Borisov with the 10.4-m GTC and the 3.6-m TNG telescopes. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 495 (2). pp. 2053-2062. ISSN 0035-8711

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In this work, we present the results of an observational study of 2I/Borisov carried out with the 10.4-m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) and the 3.6-m Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG), both telescopes located at the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory, in the island of La Palma (Spain). The study includes images in the visible and near-infrared, as well as visible spectra in the 3600–9200 Å wavelength range. N-body simulations were also performed to explore its orbital evolution and Galactic kinematic context. The comet’s dust continuum and near-infrared colours are compatible with those observed for Solar system comets. From its visible spectrum on the nights of 2019 September 24 and 26, we measured CN gas production rates Q(CN) = (2.3 ± 0.4) × 1024 mol s−1 and Q(CN) = (9.5 ± 0.2) × 1024 mol s−1, respectively, in agreement with measurements reported by other authors on similar nights. We also obtained an upper limit for the C2 production rate of Q(C2) < (4.5 ± 0.1) × 1024 mol s−1. Dust modelling results indicate a moderate dust production rate of ∼50 kg s−1 at heliocentric distance rh = 2.6 au, with a differential power-law dust size distribution of index ∼–3.4, within the range reported for many comet comae. Our simulations show that the Galactic velocity of 2I/Borisov matches well that of known stars in the solar neighbourhood and also those of more distant regions of the Galactic disc.

Item Type:Article
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This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2020 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Uncontrolled Keywords:Methods; Numerical methods; Observational techniques; Imaging spectroscopy comets; Individual; 2I/Borisov
Subjects:Sciences > Mathematics > Numerical analysis
Sciences > Mathematics > Astronomy
ID Code:65510
Deposited On:14 May 2021 15:54
Last Modified:19 May 2021 14:35

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