Ensemble properties of comets in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Michael Solontoi, Željko Ivezić, Mario Jurić, Andrew C. Becker, Lynne Jones, Andrew A. West, Steve Kent, Robert H. Lupton, Mark Claire, Gillian R. Knapp, Tom Quinn, James E. Gunn, Donald P. Schneider

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Abstract

We present the ensemble properties of 31 comets (27 resolved and 4 unresolved) observed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). This sample of comets represents about 1 comet per 10million SDSS photometric objects. Five-band (u,g,r,i,z) photometry is used to determine the comets' colors, sizes, surface brightness profiles, and rates of dust production in terms of the Afρ formalism. We find that the cumulative luminosity function for the Jupiter Family Comets in our sample is well fit by a power law of the form N(<H)∝10 (0.49±0.05)H for H<18, with evidence of a much shallower fit N(<H)∝10 (0.19±0.03)H for the faint (14.5<H<18) comets. The resolved comets show an extremely narrow distribution of colors (0.57±0.05 in g-r for example), which are statistically indistinguishable from that of the Jupiter Trojans. Further, there is no evidence of correlation between color and physical, dynamical, or observational parameters for the observed comets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-584
Number of pages14
JournalIcarus
Volume218
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2012

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Solontoi, M., Ivezić, Ž., Jurić, M., Becker, A. C., Jones, L., West, A. A., ... Schneider, D. P. (2012). Ensemble properties of comets in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Icarus, 218(1), 571-584. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2011.10.008