Physical properties of the extreme Centaur and super-comet candidate 2013 AZ60

Pal, A. and Kiss, Cs. and Horner, J. and Szakats, R. and Vilenius, E. and Muller, Th. G. and Acosta-Pulido, J. and Licandro, J. and Cabrera-Lavers, A. and Sarneczky, K. and Szabo, Gy. M. and Thirouin, A. and Sipocz, B. and Dozsa, A. and Duffard, R. (2015) Physical properties of the extreme Centaur and super-comet candidate 2013 AZ60. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 583 (A93).

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We present estimates of the basic physical properties including size and albedo of the extreme Centaur 2013 AZ60. These properties have been derived from optical and thermal infrared measurements. Our optical measurements revealed a probable full period of ≈9.4 h with a shallow amplitude of 4.5%. By combining optical brightness information and thermal emission data, we are able to derive a diameter of 62.3 ± 5.3 km and a geometric albedo of 2.9%, which corresponds to an extremely dark surface. Additionally, our finding of ≳50 Jm-2 K-1 s- 1/2 for the thermal inertia is also remarkable for objects in such a distance. The results of dynamical simulations yield an unstable orbit, with a 50% probability that the target will be ejected from the solar system within 700 000 yr. The current orbit of this object and its instability could imply a pristine cometary surface. This possibility agrees with the observed low geometric albedo and red photometric colour indices for the object, which match the surface of a dormant comet well, as would be expected for a long-period cometary body approaching perihelion. Although it was approaching ever closer to the Sun, however, the object exhibited star-like profiles in each of our observations, lacking any sign of cometary activity. According to the albedo, 2013 AZ60 is a candidate for the darkest body among the known trans-Neptunian objects.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Access to Published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2016 05:58
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2017 05:03
Uncontrolled Keywords: Kuiper belt objects; individual; 2013 AZ60 – radiation mechanisms; thermal–techniques; photometric
Fields of Research : 02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020110 Stellar Astronomy and Planetary Systems
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201526249

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