Friday, 9 November 2018

Comet 46P/Wirtanen - Current Status

Updates - Visit

18 Oct 2018

Detection of water production
We have our first report of a water production rate for Wirtanen. Dave Schleicher detected OH using narrowband filter photometry on 6 October (r=1.38 AU). Haser models give an OH production of Q(OH)2.0×1027 molec/s. This converts to a water production rate of Q(H2O)=2.3×1027 molec/s.
Production rates for other species on the same date: Q(CN)4.5×1024 molec/s, Q(C2)6.3×1024 molec/s, and Afrho(5260A) = 20 cm.
With no comparable pre-perihelion measurements from previous apparitions, it is not clear whether Wirtanen is behaving as expected, or if changes are occurring on this apparition.