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Evidence on Sizes and Fragmentation of the Nuclei of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 from Hubble Space Telescope Images

Show simple item record Sekanina, Z. en_US 2004-10-01T22:31:12Z 2004-10-01T22:31:12Z 1995-01 en_US
dc.identifier.citation Astronomy and Astrophysics (Main Journal) en_US
dc.identifier.clearanceno 95-0140 en_US
dc.description.abstract Central regions on the digital maps of 13 nuclear condensations of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, obtained with the Planetary Camera of the Hubble Space Telescope on January 24-25, March 28-30, and July 4, 1994, have been analyzed with the aim to identify the presence of distinct, major fragments in each condensation, to deconvolve their contributions to the signal that also includes the contribution from a surrounding cloud of dust (modeled as an extended source, using two different laws), to estimate the dimensions of the fragments and to study their temporal variations, and to determine the spatial distributions of the fragments as projected onto the plane of the sky. The deconvolution method applied is described and the results of the analysis are summarized, including the finding that sizable fragments die survive until the time of atmospheric entry. This result does not contradict evidence of the comet's continuing, apparently spontaneous fragmentation, which still went on long after the extremely close approach to Jupiter in July 1992 and which, because of the jovian tidal effects, may even have intensified in the final days before the crash on Jupiter. On plausible assumptions, the largest fragments are found to have had effect diameters of 4 km as late as March and event early July 1994. In most condensations, several sizable companions ( 1 km or more across) have been detected within 1000 km of the projected location of the brightest fragment and the surrounding dust cloud has been found to be centered on a point that is shifted in the general direction of the tail, probably due to effects of solar radiation pressure. Since the developed approach is based on certain premises and involves approximations, the results should be viewed as preliminary and the problem should be a subject of further investigation. en_US
dc.format.extent 620655 bytes
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.subject.other Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 en_US
dc.title Evidence on Sizes and Fragmentation of the Nuclei of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 from Hubble Space Telescope Images en_US

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