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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[27.07] Can the Leonid meteors tell us if comets have chondrules and CAIs?

H. Campins (University of Central Florida), T. D. Swindle (LPL/University of Arizona)

Studies of the Leonid meteor showers over the past few years have yielded a wealth of results relevant to the structure and composition of cometary solids. One of our goals is to test the existence of chondrules and Ca-Al-rich inclusions (CAIs) in comets based on meteor observations. Chondrule-sized objects would be too faint to study in most meteor showers, but the high velocity (~72 km/sec) of the Leonids (comet Tempel-Tuttle) make these small objects produce meteors in the range of Vmag +3 or +4. There is little consensus about the formation mechanisms for chondrules and CAIs. However, one prominent model (the "X-wind" model [1]) explicitly predicts that chondrules and CAIs will be present in comets. Hence, observational constraints on the presence or absence of chondrules and CAIs in comet Tempel-Tuttle are likely to contribute to a better understanding of their formation process.

[1] F. H. Shu et al. (2001) ApJ. 548, 1029.

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