DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 31. Cometary Nuclei and Dynamics
Oral, Chairs: D. Scheeres, C. Lisse, Thursday, November 29, 2001, 2:40-4:20pm, Regency E

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[31.09] Leonid storms and the mass loss of comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle

P. Jenniskens (SETI Institute)

Recent Leonid meteor storms and outbursts are now identified with ejecta from specific returns of the parent comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. Each represents a cross section of the given dust trail after a known number of revolutions. Together, they trace the loss of large mm-cm sized dust grains that represent the bulk of the comet's mass loss. The meteor shower profiles sample these dust trails in unique narrow ranges of mass and measure size distributions directly. I find that the observed profiles can be understood as a projection of the comet lightcurve. From this, I calculate the comet mass loss, the dust-to-gas ratio, the meteoroid particle density, and the comet nucleus spin precession, and make predictions for the Leonid storms of November 2002.

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