Randomization of particle motions and the observed morphology of cometary heads
- Sekanina, Zdenek
- JAN 1, 1991.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
Free-to-read Unrestricted online access
- A great diversity is known to exist in the coma morphology of comets. In particular, some comets show much structural detail in their heads (such as jets, halos, fans, plumes, streamers), while others have completely structureless comas. Obvious questions arise as to why is this so and what does the presence or absence of features tell us about the emission processes on cometary nuclei. In an effort to investigate these problems, a computer code that generates synthetic images of dust comets was modified by introducing random perturbations into motions of ejected particles. It is noted that the introduction of perturbations has made the computer generated images simulate the appearance of comets quite faithfully and that by increasing the perturbations beyond a certain limit it has been possible to erase the coma morphology diagnostic of the details of the ejection process. It is proposed that the degree of collimation of an ejecta flow from discrete active sources on the nucleus surface and possible emissions of dust coma. Molecules of comet gases that radiate in the spectral region employed (and whose velocity distribution is much more chaotic than that of dust particles) and limited atmospheric seeing likewise contribute to blurring structural detail in ground-based imaging observation of comets. The absence of discrete features in the coma does no means imply the absence of localized sources of activity on the nucleus.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19910016693.
Accession ID: 91N26007.
Lunar and Planetary Inst., Abstracts for the International Conference on Asteroids, Comets, Meteors 1991; p 193.
- No Copyright.
View MARC record | catkey: 15680400