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C. W. Hergenrother, S. M. Larson (U. of Arizona)
A model of the long-period comet (LPC) population is developed. Discovery and observational statistics of visual amateur and wide field CCD surveys is used to determine coma activity, nucleus size and photometric parameters of LPCs with perihelion less than 1.5 AU. The resulting model suggests that either the CCD surveys are observationally biased against low to moderate activity LPCs or that the number of these objects is depleted. Currently, the CCD surveys are finding about 50% of these objects. As a result, amateur visual surveys near the sun are still essential for discovery. In order for a near-all sky survey to find over 90% of LPCs, it must routinely survey fainter than magnitude 25.
This work is supported by the NASA Near Earth Object Observation Program.
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