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Title:
Planetary perturbations and the origins of short-period comets
Authors:
Quinn, T.; Tremaine, S.; Duncan, M.
Affiliation:
AA(Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, Toronto, Canada), AB(Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, Toronto, Canada), AC(Queen's University, Kingston, Canada)
Publication:
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 355, June 1, 1990, p. 667-679. Research supported by the University of Toronto. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
06/1990
Category:
Astrophysics; Comets
Origin:
STI
NASA/STI Keywords:
Comets, Orbital Mechanics, Perturbation Theory, Planetary Orbits, Computational Astrophysics, Evolution (Development), Gas Giant Planets, Oort Cloud, Perihelions
Keywords:
COMETS, SHORT-PERIOD COMETS, PERTURBATIONS, ORIGIN, SOURCE, ORBITS, DISTRIBUTION, ORBITAL ELEMENTS, GRAVITY EFFECTS, SIMULATIONS, MOTION, CELESTIAL MECHANICS, THEORETICAL STUDIES, DYNAMICS, CALCULATIONS, OUTER PLANETS, NUMERICAL METHODS, PARAMETERS, EVOLUTION, PERHELION, PLANETS, JUPITER, OORT CLOUDS, KUIPER BELT
DOI:
10.1086/168800
Bibliographic Code:
1990ApJ...355..667Q

Abstract

To investigate the dynamical plausibility of possible sources for the short-period comets, a representative sample of comet orbits in the field of the sun and the giant planets was integrated, with the aim to determine whether the distribution of orbits from a proposed source that reach observable perihelia (q less than 2.5 AU) matches the observed distribution of short-period orbits. It is found that the majority of the short-period comets, those with orbital period P less than 20 yr (the 'Jupiter family'), cannot arise from isotropic orbits with perihelia near Jupiter's orbit, because the resulting observable comet orbits have the wrong distribution in period, inclination, and argument of perihelion. The simulations also show that Jupiter-family comets cannot arise from isotropic orbits with perihelia in the Uranus-Neptune region. On the other hand, a source of low-inclination Neptune-crossing orbits yields a distribution of observable Jupiter-family comets that is consistent with the data in all respects. These results imply that the Jupiter-family comets arise from a disk source in the outer solar system rather than from the Oort comet cloud.

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