Periodic variation in the water production of comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) observed with the Odin satellite
Journal article, 2009
Context: Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) was extensively studied with the 1.1-m submillimetre telescope of the Odin satellite. The H2O line at 557 GHz was regularly observed from 6 March to 16 May 2004 and nearly continuously monitored during 3 periods between 26 April and 2 May 2004.
Aims: This last set of data shows periodic variations in the line intensity, and we looked for characterising the long- and short-term behaviour of this comet.
Methods: We used the variance ratio method and χ2 minimization to find the period of variation in the water production rate and simulations to infer its amplitude at the nucleus surface.
Results: A 40% periodic variation in the water production rate is measured with a period of 0.816±0.004 day (19.58±0.1 h). The comet also exhibits a seasonal effect with a mean peak of outgassing around 2.7×1029 molec. s-1 taking place about 18 days before perihelion.
C/2001 Q4 (NEAT)