DPS Pasadena Meeting 2000, 23-27 October 2000
Session 37. Comets Posters - Orbital Dynamics, Nuclei
Displayed, 1:00pm, Monday - 1:00pm, Friday, Highlighted Thursday, 3:30-6:30pm, C101-C105, C211

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[37.05] Spectral properties of the nucleus of short-period comets

I. Toth (Konkoly Observatory & LAS), P.L. Lamy (LAS)

Comets, Edgeworth-Kuiper-Belt Objects (EKBOs), Centaurs and low albedo asteroids contain a considerable amount of information regarding some of the primordial processes that governed the formation of the early Solar System planetesimals. Opportunities to determine the colors of cometary nuclei are rare and relevant ground-based observations are difficult to perform. Color diversities and similarities between different types of small bodies have already been considered ([1] and references therein). We pursue this analysis further by introducing new BVRI colors obtained from our survey of cometary nuclei with the Hubble Space Telescope [2] as well as recent data obtained on EKBOs. We present preliminary results on the distribution of the BVRI colors (histograms, two-color diagrams) and possible relationships between the colors and orbital elements as well as the determined body sizes. The mean colors of the selected sample of the short-period (s-p) comets are: < (B-V) > = 0.91, < (V-R) > = 0.52, and < (V-I) > = 0.84. Pearson's linear correlation analysis of the (B-V) versus (V-R) and (V-R) versus (V-I) colors show significant correlations for the EKBOs+Centaurs sample while the s-p sample seems to be uncorrelated, with a few outliers. The linear regression lines of the EKBOs+Centaurs sample crosses through the sample of the s-p comets. There are no correlations of the colors versus perihelion distances, effective radii and perihelion distances as well as the (a,sin(i)) diagrams.

This work was supported by grants from CNRS and CNES, France and partially by the the Hungarian Research Foundation OTKA T025049.

[1] Luu, J., 1993. Icarus 104, 138. [2] Lamy, P.L. et al., this conference

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