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Budapest, Hungary

Szabo G.M.,MTA CSFK | Szabo G.M.,ELTE Gothard Lendulet Research Group | Kiss L.L.,MTA CSFK | Kiss L.L.,ELTE Gothard Lendulet Research Group | And 8 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2012

Here, we report that the activity of comet Hale-Bopp ceased between late 2007 and 2009 March, at about 28 AU distance from the Sun. At that time, the comet resided at a distance from the Sun that exceeded the freeze-out distance of regular comets by an order of magnitude. A Herschel Space Observatory PACS scan was taken in mid-2010, in the already inactive state of the nucleus. The albedo has been found to be surprisingly large (8.1% ± 0.9%), which exceeds the value known for any other comets. With re-reduction of archive Hubble Space Telescope images from 1995 and 1996, we confirm that the pre-perihelion albedo resembled that of an ordinary comet and was smaller by a factor of two than the post-activity albedo. Our further observations with the Very Large Telescope also confirmed that the albedo increased significantly by the end of the activity. We explain these observations by proposing gravitational redeposition of icy grains toward the end of the activity. This is plausible for such a massive body in a cold environment, where gas velocity is lowered to the range of the escape velocity. These observations also show that giant comets are not just the upscaled versions of the comets we know but can be affected by processes that are yet to be fully identified. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Source

Maciejewski G.,Nicolaus Copernicus University | Dimitrov D.,Bulgarian Academy of Science | Seeliger M.,Astrophysikalisches Institute und Universitats Sternwarte | Raetz S.,Astrophysikalisches Institute und Universitats Sternwarte | And 42 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2013

Aims. The transiting planet WASP-12 b was identified as a potential target for transit-timing studies because a departure from a linear ephemeris has been reported in the literature. Such deviations could be caused by an additional planet in the system. We attempt to confirm the claimed variations in transit timing and interpret their origin. Methods. We organised a multi-site campaign to observe transits by WASP-12 b in three observing seasons, using 0.5-2.6-metre telescopes. Results. We obtained 61 transit light curves, many of them with sub-millimagnitude precision. The simultaneous analysis of the best-quality datasets allowed us to obtain refined system parameters, which agree with values reported in previous studies. The residuals versus a linear ephemeris reveal a possible periodic signal that may be approximated by a sinusoid with an amplitude of 0.00068 ± 0.00013 d and period of 500 ± 20 orbital periods of WASP-12 b. The joint analysis of timing data and published radial velocity measurements results in a two-planet model that explains observations better than do single-planet scenarios. We hypothesise that WASP-12 b might not be the only planet in the system, and there might be the additional 0.1 M Jup body on a 3.6-d eccentric orbit. A dynamical analysis indicates that the proposed two-planet system is stable on long timescales. © 2013 ESO. Source

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