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Time evolution of dust deposits in the Hapi region of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Abstract : Aims. We provide a measurement of the seasonal evolution of the dust deposit erosion and accretion in the Hapi region of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko with a vertical accuracy of 0.2–0.9 m. Methods. We used OSIRIS Narrow Angle Camera images with a spatial scale of lower than 1.30 m px −1 and developed a tool to monitor the time evolution of 22 boulder heights with respect to the surrounding dust deposit. The tool is based on the measurement of the shadow length projected by the boulder on the surrounding pebble deposit. Assuming the position of the boulders does not change during the observational period, boulder height variations provide an indication of how the thickness of the surrounding dust layer varies over time through erosion and accretion phenomena. Results. We measured an erosion of the dust deposit of 1.7 ± 0.2 m during the inbound orbit until 12 December, 2014. This value nearly balances the fallout from the southern hemisphere during perihelion cometary activity. During the perihelion phase, the dust deposit then increased by 1.4 ± 0.8 m. This is interpreted as a direct measurement of the fallout thickness. By comparing the erosion rate and dust volume loss rate at the Hapi region measured in the coma, the fallout represents ~96% in volume of the ejecta. The amount of the eroded pristine material from the southern hemisphere, together with its subsequent transport and fallout on the nucleus, led us to discuss the pristine water ice abundance in comet 67P. We determine that the refractory-to-ice mass ratio ranges from 6 to 110 in the perihelion-eroded pristine nucleus, providing a pristine ice mass fraction of (8 ± 7)% in mass.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - 6:29:48 PM
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P. Cambianica, M. Fulle, G. Cremonese, E. Simioni, G. Naletto, et al.. Time evolution of dust deposits in the Hapi region of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2020, 636, pp.A91. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202037485⟩. ⟨hal-03262743⟩



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