Clowders of Manxes — “Fresh” Inner Solar System Earth-Forming Material Stored in the Oort Cloud?
Karen Meech



The Pan-STARRS1 telescope is now the most prolific facility discovering inactive and very low activity comets on long-period comet orbits. For their nearly tailless appearance, we are calling these objects “Manx comets”. One of these objects, C/2014 S3, has a surface that is physically similar to an inner main belt rocky S-type asteroid. State-of-the-art dynamical models successfully reproduce many of the key characteristics of our current solar system, and they differ on the amount of inner solar system material that can be ejected into the Oort cloud. Determining the amount of S-type material could be the key to verifying these predictions of the planet migration-based dynamical models. Modern inner solar system S-type asteroids are rocky and do not possess volatiles, however C/2014 S3 displays a very faint, weak level of comet-like activity. The activity implies that C/2014 S3 has retained a tiny fraction of the water that is expected to be present at its formation distance in the inner solar system. We may be looking at fresh inner solar system Earth-forming material that was ejected from the inner solar system and preserved for billions of years in the Oort cloud. This talk will discuss or program to observe Manxes and what the implications are for understanding the early solar system in the context of other small body data.