PSJC #111 March 16, 2012

Henry Hsieh (IfA)

Activity in the Asteroid Belt: Main-Belt Comets and Disrupted Asteroids

Main-belt comets exhibit cometary activity indicative of ice sublimation yet are dynamically indistinguishable from main-belt asteroids and appear to have formed in situ in the inner solar system (inside the orbit of Jupiter). Much of the current interest in studying these objects lies in the possible role of icy main-belt objects in the primordial delivery of terrestrial water. I will outline our current state of understanding of these rare and still poorly understood objects, as well as discuss the new complication presented by disrupted asteroids, which appear to actually be inert objects that temporarily mimic comets as a result of recent impacts.