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Tales from the Solar System: Comets, Asteroids and Interstellar Objects

Title: Tales from the Solar System: Comets, Asteroids and Interstellar Objects

Speaker: Professor Bin Yang (University of Diego Portales, Chile)

Time: 10:00am, January 19, 2024

Location: 3-402, PMO Xianlin Campus

Abstract: One of the great challenges in astronomy is to understand how planetary systems come into being from protoplanetary disks and how this relates to our own Solar System formation. In the Solar System, detailed information on planet formation and migration can be obtained by studying small bodies (such as asteroids and comets). In this talk, I will focus on three hot topics in current small body research. First, I will present a multi-wavelength characterization of the interstellar traveler, 2I/Borisov, the first clearly active extrasolar comet ever detected in our Solar System. Second, I will talk about high-resolution imaging studies of large asteroids using SPHERE, the second-generation extreme adaptive optics (AO) instrument. I will present SPHERE case studies of asteroid (130) Elektra and asteroid (31) Euphrosyne, as well as the physical and dynamical studies of the Euphrosyne family. Lastly, I will present the current and future studies of distant comets, which are remarkable for developing a coma well beyond the usual distance where water ice is known to sublimate. In particular, the detection of C/2017 K2 beyond the orbit of Uranus offers an unprecedented opportunity for us to examine the development of activity in a pristine comet arriving from near-interstellar temperatures.