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Non-gravitational force modeling of Comet 81P/Wild 2: II. Rotational evolution
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Astronomy and Space Physics.
2007 (English)In: Icarus (New York, N.Y. 1962), ISSN 0019-1035, Vol. 191, no 2, 651-664 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper, we have studied both the dynamical and the rotational evolution of an 81P/Wild 2-like comet under the effects of the outgassing-induced force and torque. The main aim is to study if it is possible to reproduce the non-gravitational orbital changes observed in this comet, and to establish the likely evolution of both orbital and rotational parameters. To perform this study, a simple thermophysical model has been used to estimate the torque acting on the nucleus. Once the torque is calculated, Euler equations are solved numerically considering a nucleus mass directly estimated from the changes in the orbital elements (as determined from astrometry). According to these simulations, when the water production rate and changes in orbital parameters for 1997, as well as observational rotational parameters for 2004 are imposed as constraints, the change in the orbital period of 81P/Wild 2, ΔP=P˙, will decrease so that P¨=‑5 to ‑1minorbit, which is similar to the actual tendency observed from 1988 up to 1997. This nearly constant decreasing can be explained as due to a slight drift of the spin axis orientation towards larger ecliptic longitudes. After studying the possible spin axis orientations proposed for 1997, simulations suggest that the spin obliquity and argument (I,Φ)=(56°,167°) is the most likely. As for rotational evolution, changes per orbit smaller than 10% of the actual spin velocity are probable, while the most likely value corresponds to a change between 2 and 7% of the spin velocity. Equally, net changes in the spin axis orientation of 4° 8° per orbit are highly expected.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 191, no 2, 651-664 p.
Keyword [en]
Comets, Comet 81P/Wild 2, dynamics, rotational dynamics
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-15061DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2007.06.003ISI: 000251589500017OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-15061DiVA: diva2:42832
Available from: 2008-02-04 Created: 2008-02-04Bibliographically approved

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Davidsson, Björn
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