36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 25 Comets Coma II
Oral, Thursday, November 11, 2004, 8:30-10:00am, Clark

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[25.01] Structure of Cometary Dust Particles

A.C. Levasseur-Regourd (Univ. Paris VI / Aéronomie), E. Hadamcik (Aéronomie), J. Lasue (Univ. Paris VI / Aéronomie)

The recent encounter of Stardust with comet 81P/Wild 2 has provided highly spatially resolved data about dust particles in the coma. They show intense swarms and bursts of particles, suggest the existence of fragmenting low-density particles formed of higher density sub-micrometer components [1], and definitely confirm previous results (inferred from Giotto encounter with comet Grigg-Skjellerup [2] and remote light scattering observations [3]). The light scattering properties (mostly polarization, which does not depend upon disputable normalizations) of dust in cometary comae will be summarized, with emphasis on the spatial changes and on the wavelength and phase angle dependence. Experimental and numerical simulations are needed to translate these observed light scattering properties in terms of physical properties of the dust particles (e.g. size, morphology, albedo, porosity).

New experimental simulations (with fluffy mixtures of sub-micron sized silica and carbon grains) and new numerical simulations (with fractal aggregates of homogeneous or core-mantled silicate and organic grains) will be presented. The results are in favor of highly porous particles built up (by ballistic-cluster-cluster agglomeration) from grains of interstellar origin. The perspectives offered by laboratory simulations with aggregates built under conditions representative of the early solar system on board the International Space Station will be presented, together with the perspectives offered by future experiments on board the Rosetta cometary probe.

Supports from CNES and ESA are acknowledged

[1] Tuzzolino et al., Science, 304, 1776, 2004, [2] N. McBride et al., Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 289, p. 535-553, 1997, [3] Levasseur-Regourd and Hadamcik, J. Quant. Spectros. Radiat. Transfer, 79-80, 903-910, 2003.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
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