THE PHYSICAL MECHANISM OF FUTURE SEPARATION OF COMET 103R/HARTLEY 2 NUCLEUS

Л. В. Ксанфомалiтi, К. І. Чурюмов

Abstract


The spacecraft Deep Impact (project EPOXI, NASA) became close to the nucleus of comet103P/Hartley 2 (103P/Hartley 2) in November 2010 and sent pictures of the small celestial body having a dumbbellshape with a smooth neck. Since the rotation of the nucleus leads to the centrifugal forces, authors suggested thatthe neck of the dumbbell formed under their influence, and that there is slow but continuous lengthening of the neck,which should be completed by separation of nucleus fragments. The calculation shows that, in a narrow part of thenucleus the centrifugal forces stronger than gravity and that the nucleus is indeed in the stage of coming rupture andsplitting it in two fragments. In the absence of external perturbations both parts of the celestial body will fragmentswill diverge in opposite directions on a distance of less 1 km. Thus the dumbbell shape of the nucleus of comet 103P/Hartley 2 is a precursor of the future destruction of the celestial body.

Keywords


comet nuclei evolution.

References


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