Water ice in 2060 Chiron and its implications for Centaurs and Kuiper belt objects

Jane X. Luu, David C. Jewitt, Chad Trujillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report the detection of water ice in the Centaur 2060 Chiron, based on near-infrared spectra (1.0-2.5 μm) taken with the 3.8 m United Kingdom Infrared Telescope and the 10 m Keck Telescope. The appearance of this ice is correlated with the recent decline in Chiron's cometary activity: the decrease in the coma cross section allows previously hidden solid-state surface features to be seen. We predict that water ice is ubiquitous among Centaurs and Kuiper Belt objects, but its surface coverage varies from object to object and thus determines its detectability and the occurrence of cometary activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L151-L154
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume531
Issue number2 PART 2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 10 2000
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Comets: General
  • Kuiper belt objects
  • Solar system: Formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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