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(gzipped) PostScript## Model of the nongravitational motion for Comet 32P/Comas Solá
The nongravitational motion of the periodic comet Comas Solá
is studied on the basis of positional observations made during nine
consecutive revolutions around the Sun. Nongravitational effects in
the comet motion have been examined for Sekanina's forced precession
model of the rotating nucleus. We present three models which
successfully link all the observed apparitions of the comet during
1926-1996. Two solutions (Models II and III) represent oblate
spheroids and the third one (Model I) - a prolate spheroid
(nucleus rotation around its longer axis). We have determined values
of eight parameters: connected with the rotating
comet nucleus, and The ratio of rotational period to radius of the nucleus was found for each model. The present precession models are in agreement with sizes and periods of rotation of other cometary nuclei deduced from observations. The obtained models give some strong constraints on the physical parameters of the nucleus of comet P/Comas Solá. Assuming a prolate spheroid for the nucleus of the comet, the expected rotational period is hours for an equatorial radius of 2 km. For the same radius, the oblate Model II gives the much smaller rotational period of hours. The polar radii are 2.2 km and 1.3 km for the prolate and oblate model, respectively.
Online publication: June 18, 1998 |