DPS 34th Meeting, October 2002
Session 27. Comet Nuclei
Oral, Chair(s): C. Lisse and Y.R. Fernandez, Thursday, October 10, 2002, 2:00-4:00pm, Ballroom

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[27.05] Spin Evolution and Activity of comet 19P/Borrelly

N.H. Samarasinha, B.E.A. Mueller (NOAO)

The Deep Space 1 (DS1) encounter with comet 19P/Borrelly provided the context to explain ground based coma morphology of comet 19P/Borrelly. DS1 evidence that the strong jet in groundbased images emanates from the polar region of the nucleus enables us to determine the direction of the spin axis. Comparison of observations from the early twentieth century indicate small but significant changes in the spin axis from early twentieth century to the present epoch (Farnham and Cochran 2002, Schleicher et al. 2002). We are modeling the outgassing torques of comet 19P/Borrelly and we will present the results of this model analysis.

Unlike this strong polar jet seen in the images of late 2001, a curved feature similar to a jet in the northwest quadrant dominates the images of early 2002. We observed this feature in February 2002 and observations include a rotational phase coverage of nearly half a rotation cycle. However, no clear rotational modulation of the feature is evident. A detailed analysis of this feature will be carried out to determine its character and the origin of its curvature. The results will be presented at the meeting.

This research is supported by a grant from the NASA Planetary Astronomy Program.


Farnham, T.L. and A.L. Chocran (2002) A McDonald Observatory Study of Comet 19P/Borrelly: Placing the Deep Space 1 Observations into a Broader Context, submitted to Icarus.

Schleicher, D.G. et al. (2002) Comet 19P/Borrelly at Multiple Apparitions: Seasonal variations in Gas Production and Dust Morphology, submitted to Icarus.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.