AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 28 Formation and Fate of Stardust
Topical Session, Tuesday, 8:30-10:00am, 10:45am-12:30pm, 2:30-4:00pm, 4:15-6:00pm, May 31, 2005, 102 C

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[28.17] Spitzer observations of comets and zodiacal light

W. T. Reach (SSC/Caltech)

Using the new infrared spectral and imaging capabilities of the Spitzer space telescope, we find dust trails from short-period comets, new structures in the zodiacal light, weak 9-11 micron silicate spectral features from some comets and the zodiacal light, and the color temperature of cometary nuclei, comae, and dust trails. The high frequency of dust trail detections for short-period comets suggests they are a generic phenomenon and that most such comets lose mass primarily in the form of meteor-sized particles. The color temperature of the trails is higher than a grey-body, while their dynamics suggest they must be of order mm-sized, so they must maintain temperature gradients across their small surfaces. The zodiacal light silicate feature requires a contribution from small amorphous silicates, though the continuum requires larger particles. In this talk we review recent work on cometary and zodiacal dust and search for relationships.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #2
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.