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H. Hasagawa (ASTEC), D.C. Boice (SwRI), K. Muroi, R. Tanabe (Tokyo Gakugei U.), J.-I. Watanabe (NAOJ)
A general model for representing the three-dimensional shape and surface topography of small, solar system bodies is presented that consistently combines the illumination, thermal emission, rotation, and gas production (if volatiles are present) of these objects. The geometrical model approximates a triaxial ellipsoid by a large number of triangular patches that can be modified to add surface features, such as craters, mounds, and plains. The physical model allows arbitrary illumination and viewing angles with shadowing and scattering properties that may vary over the surface. By considering the energy balance at each surface patch, temperatures and sublimation rates are found which are integrated to yield total thermal emission and gas production. The model is useful for analyzing observations of comet nuclei and asteroids from spacecraft and Earth-based observations. Applications of the model to comets (19P/Borrelly, 10P/Tempel 2, 1P/Halley, and C/Hale-Bopp) and asteroids (951 Gaspra and 216 Kleopatra) are presented.
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