31st Annual Meeting of the DPS, October 1999
Session 14. Celestial Mechanics of Planets and Comets Posters
Poster Group I, Monday-Wednesday, October 11, 1999, , Kursaal Center

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[14.04] The sungrazing comets discovered with the SOHO/LASCO coronagraphs: 1996-1998.

D.A. Biesecker (SM\&A/NASA-GSFC), P. Lamy (LAS-Marseille), O.C. St. Cyr (CPI/NRL), A. Llebaria (LAS-Marseille), R. Howard (NRL)

An unprecedented number of Kreutz sungrazing comets have been discovered with the LASCO coronagraphs on the SOHO spacecraft. We present here the results of the analysis of the first 53 sungrazing comets, which were discovered between January, 1996 and June, 1998. In this poster, we summarize the capabilities and calibration of the LASCO coronagraphs for comet observations. We discuss the frequency of the comet discoveries and summarize the properties of the computed orbits. We show examples of typical comet light curves and discuss their common features. In particular, we show that the comets are completely disintegrated before they reach perihelion. One particular feature of the observations is the presence of a dust tail for only a few sungrazers while no tail is evident for the majority of them. Analysis of the light curves is used to investigate the properties of the nuclei (size, fragmentation, destruction) and the dust production rates. This work was funded in part by NASA SOHO-GI Grant NAG5-8003.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://sungrazer.nascom.nasa.gov. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: doug@sungrazer.nascom.nasa.gov

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