IGPP Seminar Series

Physical Properties of Cometary Nuclei

by Paul Weisman
JPL

Abstract

Cometary nuclei are difficult to observe directly. When they are close to the Sun they are shrouded in bright dust and gas comae. When far from the Sun they are very faint, m_R ~ 22, because of their small size and low albedo. We report the results of an observing program with the Palomar 5m telescope and Large Format Camera to study distant cometary nuclei in order to determine their sizes, shapes, rotation periods, and taxonomic colors. These parameters can be used to set a lower limit on the bulk density of the nuclei and to understand their formation and evolution.
Tuesday, 03 February 2009
3853 Slichter Hall
Refreshments at 3:45 PM
Lecture at 4:00 PM