AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 15 Comets, Kuiper Belt and Trans-Neptunian Objects
Poster, Monday, January 5, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[15.01] Dynamical Modeling of Comet Dust: The STARDUST and ROSETTA Mission Targets

M.S. Kelley (U. Minn.), W.T. Reach (SIRTF Science Center/Caltech)

Comets 81P/Wild 2 and 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko are the respective targets for the NASA STARDUST and ESA ROSETTA missions. As such, the dust environment of each comet is of particular importance, simultaneously being a key to mission success (e.g. dust collection) and a possible spacecraft hazard (impacts with large particles). We present dynamical modeling of the comae and dust trails of comets 81P/Wild 2 and 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and compare these models to ground-based observations. At the heart of our code is the 15th order integrator described by Everhart (1985, IAU Colloq. 83, 185-202). We integrate the radiation and gravitational forces acting on a dust particle due to the Sun and planets to determine a released particle's position relative to the parent comet at the time of an observation (either by telescope or spacecraft). Comparing zero ejection velocity syndyne curves to observations we obtain a first order estimate of the dust trail particle sizes, which typically range near the millimeter sizes or larger. If we input best guesses for ejection velocities, sizes, and emission histories into a Monte-Carlo integration we can simulate a coma and provide a particle size distribution estimate for various spacecraft impact parameters on large scales.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.