First detection of volatiles from a main-belt comet

NASA James Webb Space Telescope Archival Research Program-Cycle 1

Other Non PSI Personnel: Michael S. P. Kelley (Principal Investigator), (University of Maryland)

Start Date: 07/01/2022
Project #: 1878
End Date: 06/30/2025
Award #: JWST-AR-02037.002-A
Project Description

Our main science goal is to determine the volatile and dust production rate of a main belt comet, and to compare it to the activity and chemical composition of the broader cometary population. The target comet is 238P/Read, as to be observed by GTO program 1252 (PI Kelley is also PI of that project, but the majority of our team is not funded for this work). Our goal requires an investigation of the spectral and spatial properties of the target in NIRCam images, NIRSpec spectroscopy, and contemporaneously obtained ground based images. Specific tasks to be carried out by Co I Hsieh are as follows:

1. Validate NIRCam pipeline generated data products and re run the pipeline as needed.
2. Characterize gas and dust coma morphology, photometry.
3. Obtain and measure contemporary ground based photometry.
4. Activity characterization, interpretation, and publication.