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RECENT RESULTS IN THE STUDY OF COMETS Michael F. A'Hearn
 

Summary: RECENT RESULTS IN THE STUDY OF COMETS
Michael F. A'Hearn
Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park MD 20742, USA
ABSTRACT
Cometary developments since the last ACM meeting have been enormous with a plethora of spectacular
events including the impacts of D/Shoemaker­Levy 9 into Jupiter and the advent of comets Hyakutake
(C/1996#B2) and Hale­Bopp (C/1995#O1). This review will provide a selected overview of a few
interesting developments since the last ACM.
INTRODUCTION
The period since the last ACM meeting has been a truly dramatic one for cometary studies. Key events have
included the discovery of entirely new and unexpected phenomena, most notably the discovery of X­Ray
emission as a commonplace phenomenon of comets, and the advent of two spectacular comets, Hyakutake
(C/1996 B2) and Hale­Bopp (C/1995 O1). The period has also seen the impacts of D/Shoemaker­Levy 9
(D/1993 F2; hereafter SL9) into Jupiter which has led to a renewed interest in the strength of cometary
nuclei, the frequency of cometary impacts, and cometary models. Because of the explosion of knowledge
about comets, this review will be highly selective, focusing on a few topics which are timely and which
appear to me to be particularly interesting. Because of the need to be subjectively selective, I will not
discuss several interesting items including, among other things, the passage through perihelion of the largest
comet of this century, 95P/Chiron.
D/SHOEMAKER­LEVY 9 AND NUCLEAR STRUCTURE

  

Source: A'Hearn, Michael F. - Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland at College Park

 

Collections: Physics