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Astron. Astrophys. 364, 887-893 (2000)

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The transfer of comets from near-parabolic to short-period orbits: map approach

J.-L. Zhou 1, Y.-S. Sun 1, J.-Q. Zheng 2 and M.J. Valtonen 2

1 Nanjing University, Department of Astronomy and Center of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Eastern China, Nanjing 210093, P.R. China (zhoujl@nju.edu.cn; sunys@nju.edu.cn) *
2 University of Turku, Turku University Observatory and Department of Physics, Tuorla 21500 Piikkiö, Finland

Received 29 March 2000 / Accepted 10 October 2000


In the framework of the circular restricted three-body problem (the Sun-planet-comet), we generalize the map of Liu & Sun (1994) to study the transfer of comets from near-parabolic to Halley-family ones, under the perturbations of Jupiter. Numerical results show that the transfer is effective for comets on both the direct and retrograde orbits crossing the planet's orbit, and on the direct non-crossing orbits but with the perihelion distances close to the semi-major axis of the planet's orbit. The dependence of the transfer probability and of the average transfer time on the perihelion distances of the cometary orbits and on the planet mass are determined. The probabilities of comet transfer from the Oort Cloud are found to be 0.12 and 0.067 for comets on direct and retrograde orbits, respectively. This leads us to expect an average flux of 0.23 new Halley-family comets per year interior to Jupiter's orbit. The calculation shows that about [FORMULA] of the flux comes from comets on the Jupiter-crossing orbits.

Key words: diffusion – celestial mechanics, stellar dynamics – comets: general

* Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant No.19903001 and No.19633010, the Special Funds for Major State Basic Research Project and a grant from the Academy of Finland.

Send offprint requests to: Ji-Lin Zhou

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: January 29, 2001