DPS Pasadena Meeting 2000, 23-27 October 2000
Session 36. Comets: Orbital Dynamics, Nuclei
Oral, Chairs: H. Weaver, H. Levison, Wednesday, 2000/10/25, 4:00-6:00pm, Little Theater (C107)

[Previous] | [Session 36] | [Next]

[36.01] The origin of Halley-type comets: probing the inner Oort cloud

H. Levison, L. Dones (SwRI), M. Duncan (Queen's U.)

We have integrated the orbits of 27,700 test particles initially entering the planetary system from the Oort cloud in order to study the origin of Halley-type comets (HTCs). We included the gravitational influence of the Sun, giant planets, passing stars, and galactic tides. We find that an isotropically distributed Oort cloud does not reproduce the observed orbital element distribution of the HTCs. In order to match the observations, the initial inclination distribution of the progenitors of the HTCs must be similar to the observed HTC inclination distribution. We can match the observations with an Oort cloud that consists of an isotropic outer cloud and a disk-like massive inner cloud. These idealized two-component models have inner disks with median inclinations that range from 10 to 50\circ. This analysis represents the first link between observations and the structure of the inner Oort cloud.

HFL and LD gratefully acknowledges grants provided by the NASA Origins of Solar Systems and Planetary Geology and Geophysics Programs. MJD is grateful for the continuing financial support of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada and for financial support for work done inthe U.S.from NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Programs.

[Previous] | [Session 36] | [Next]