Production rates for the stardust mission target: 81P/Wild 2

Uwe - Fink, Michael P. Hicks, Ronald A. Fevig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Scopus citations


We observed 81P/Wild 2 from February 01 to June 01, 1997, during five observing runs spaced roughly 1 month apart straddling perihelion 1997 May 06.6. A considerable volume of spectroscopic data was collected and is analyzed in the present paper. In units of 1025 molecules/s the following gas production rates were measured: H2O, 1500; CN, 3.3; NH2, 4.0; C2, ≤0.9. Emissions by C2 appear to be present in our data but this is not certain. The gas production stayed relatively constant throughout our observation period but the dust production as measured by Afρdropped from 564 to 311 cm. Comparison with other comets in our sample shows that Wild 2 is a Borrelly-type comet depleted in C2, but with average to slightly high NH2 abundance. Our imaging data indicate noticeable coma activity around February 01 followed by relatively constant outgassing. Our V+R magnitudes are compared with visual data and their different behavior is discussed and explained. The comet's visual magnitude brightness dependence shows a steep 25 log rH dependence, indicating a mature crust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-340
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999



  • 81 P/Wild 2
  • Comets
  • Composition
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

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