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Science. 2002 May 10;296(5570):1087-91. Epub 2002 Apr 4.

Observations of comet 19P/Borrelly by the miniature integrated camera and spectrometer aboard Deep Space 1.

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  • 1United States Geological Survey, 2255 North Gemini Drive, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA.


The nucleus of the Jupiter-family comet 19P/Borrelly was closely observed by the Miniature Integrated Camera and Spectrometer aboard the Deep Space 1 spacecraft on 22 September 2001. The 8-kilometer-long body is highly variegated on a scale of 200 meters, exhibiting large albedo variations (0.01 to 0.03) and complex geologic relationships. Short-wavelength infrared spectra (1.3 to 2.6 micrometers) show a slope toward the red and a hot, dry surface (</=345 kelvin, with no trace of water ice or hydrated minerals), consistent with approximately 10% or less of the surface actively sublimating. Borrelly's coma exhibits two types of dust features: fans and highly collimated jets. At encounter, the near-nucleus coma was dominated by a prominent dust jet that resolved into at least three smaller jets emanating from a broad basin in the middle of the nucleus. Because the major dust jet remained fixed in orientation, it is evidently aligned near the rotation axis of the nucleus.

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