COMETS: Lecture Pictures

  • Tail Shot #1
  • Tail Shot #2 - Comet West
  • Hyakutake Nucleus
  • Shoemaker-Levy9
  • Light Curve #1 - Hayakutake
  • Light Curve #2 - Hayakutake
  • Orbit Diagram
  • Hyakutake
  • Hyakutake

    COMETS: Questions

  • What is the comet nucleus mostly composed of, and why is that important to our solar system?

  • What and how does the solar wind allow us to see in a comet? In other words, what are the component(s) of a comet that would be missing if there were no solar wind?

  • What is an "anti-tail"?

  • What are the three types of orbits on which comets propagate?

  • In general terms, what determines the shape and size of comets orbits?

  • What are the tensile strength and escape velocity of comets, and what is the significance of these two physical properties?

  • Are comet paths significantly affected by the gravitational forces of planets? If so, explain to what extent?

  • What are "rocket effects"? Do they have more of an effect on the paths of comets than the gravitational forces of planets?

  • What are cometary light curves and what do we learn from them?

  • What is the "power-law" formula? Calculate Comet Hyakutake's brightness (magnitude) given the following parameters: H0 = (-4), the geocentric distance (() is 139.5 million miles, the heliocentric distance (r) is 176.7 million miles, and the "power-law exponent" (n) is 4. How does this magnitude compare with Jupiter's?

  • COMETS: Lecture


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