DUST MORPHOLOGY OF COMET HALE–BOPP (C/1995 O1). II. INTRODUCTION OF A WORKING MODEL


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Abstract

A Monte Carlo image simulation code for dust features in comets is applied to comet Hale–Bopp in order to model the object's persistent porcupine-like appearance on high-resolution images taken between May 11 and Nov. 2, 1996. A self-consistent fan model is proposed, with six isolated sources of dust emission assumed at various locations on the surface of the rotating nucleus and with the spin axis undergoing a complex motion in an inertial coordinate system. In the framework of this model, jet pairs represent boundaries of fan-shaped formations described by dust ejected from isolated sources during periods of time when the Sun is above the local horizon. The spin axis is found to have traveled through a field of 10° by 20° during the examined period of nearly six months. Still more successful is a fan model with large diurnal dust-emission fluctuations, which is consistent with an inertially fixed position of the spin axis and requires only three discrete sources. In this scenario, the dust-emission profile is dominated by several brief flare-ups, or ’’puffs‘‘, in the production of dust from one of the sources. The results are insensitive to the spin rate, but the observed dust coma appearance is more typical of a rapidly rotating comet.

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