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Modelling of Shape Changes of the Nuclei of Comets C/1995 O1 Hale–Bopp and 46P/Wirtanen Caused by Water Ice Sublimation


The aim of this modelling work is to assess shape changes of cometary nuclei caused by sublimation of ices. The simplest possible model is assumed with the nucleus being initially spherical and its thermal conductivity being neglected. We have calculated the time-dependent sublimation flux versus cometographic latitude. If the rotation axis of the comet is inclined to the orbital plane, then sublimation leads to non-symmetrical changes of the nucleus shape. Calculations were performed for the nuclei of comets Hale–Bopp and Wirtanen.

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Dziak-Jankowska, B., Leliwa-Kopystyński, J. & Królikowska, M.G. Modelling of Shape Changes of the Nuclei of Comets C/1995 O1 Hale–Bopp and 46P/Wirtanen Caused by Water Ice Sublimation. Earth Moon Planet 90, 35–44 (2002).

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  • C/1995 O1 Hale–Bopp
  • 46P/Wirtanen
  • cometary nuclei
  • shape changes
  • sublimation