NEOWISE observations of comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) as it approaches Mars [EPA]

The Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission observed comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) three times at 3.4 {\mu}m and 4.6 {\mu}m as the comet approached Mars in 2014. The comet is an extremely interesting target since its close approach to Mars in late 2014 will be observed by various spacecraft in-situ. The observations were taken in 2014 Jan., Jul. and Sep. when the comet was at heliocentric distances of 3.82 AU, 1.88 AU, and 1.48 AU. The level of activity increased significantly between the Jan. and Jul. visits but then decreased by the time of the observations in Sep., approximately 4 weeks prior to its close approach to Mars. In this work we calculate Af\r{ho} values, and CO/CO2 production rates.

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R. Stevenson, J. Bauer, R. Cutri, et. al.
Mon, 8 Dec 14

Comments: 9 pages, 3 figures, accepted by Astrophysical Journal Letters