Acta Geophysica

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 509–535 | Cite as

Sublimation-driven evolution of the local radius and the moment of inertia of a long-period comet

  • Beata Dziak-JankowskaEmail author
  • Jacek Leliwa-Kopystyński
  • Konrad J. Kossacki
Research Article


In this paper we intend to analyze how the sublimation of ice from cometary nuclei affects changes of the moments of inertia. Our aim is to show general trends for different orientations of cometary nucleus’ rotation axis. Thus we apply numerical model of a hypothetical homogeneous and initially spherical nucleus composed of water ice and dust. As an example we present simulations for a model comet of the orbital elements and the nucleus size the same as determined for C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp, a widely analyzed long-period comet. We calculated water production from the nucleus and changes of the shape (initially spherical) and of the moment of inertia versus time. Simulations are performed for the full range (0–90°) of inclinations I of the rotation axis. The second paramater related to the orientation of the rotation axis is the argument Φ (0–360°). The heat conductivity of the nucleus spans over the vast range, 0.04–4 W m−1 K1.

Key words

comet C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp sublimation long period comet 


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Copyright information

© © Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beata Dziak-Jankowska
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jacek Leliwa-Kopystyński
    • 1
    • 2
  • Konrad J. Kossacki
    • 2
  1. 1.Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of SciencesWarszawaPoland
  2. 2.Institute of GeophysicsUniversity of WarsawWarszawaPoland

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