Advertisement

Cometary Tails

  • Klaus Jockers
Chapter

Abstract

Before the introduction of the photographic plate as an astronomical observational technique, cometary research in the 19th century had to be confined to the determination of cometary orbits, to visual photometry, and to the study of cometary tails (see Jaegermann 1903). Bessel (1836) showed that the shape of cometary tails could be explained if one assumed that as well as gravity, a force of repulsion that also declined as the square of the distance from the Sun, acted on the material in the tail. This repulsive force, or rather the ratio K between this repulsive force and gravity, depends on the nature of the particles in the tail, and in addition each particle may be described in terms of the time τ at which it leaves the cometary nucleus. Within the framework of this “mechanical theory”, curves of equal K were described as syndynes, and curves of equal τ as synchrones. If we know the position of a tail particle on the plane of the comet’s orbit, then mechanical theory allows the corresponding parameters K and τ to be determined (although unfortunately not always unambiguously). Bredikhin (see Jaegermann 1903) established that the tail particles may be divided into two types, Type I with K > 10 and Type II with K ≤ 3. He also introduced Type III for very small values of K, but this division is no longer considered to be valid and so plays no part in our discussion. Bessel and Bredikhin assumed that the force of repulsion was electrical in nature. Arrhenius (1900) recognized radiation pressure as being the source of the force of repulsion, and this explanation is still valid for Type-II tails.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Reference

  1. Arrhenius Sv. (1900) Physikalische Zeitschrift 2: 81, 97Google Scholar
  2. Dela Baume Pluvinel A., Baldet F. (1911) Astrophys. J. 34: 89ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bessel W. (1836) Astron. Nachr. 13: 185ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Biermann L. (1951) ZAstrophys. 29: 274ADSGoogle Scholar
  5. Bobrovnikoff N.T. (1927) Astrophys. J. 66: 145, 439ADSGoogle Scholar
  6. Bohr N. (1913) Phil. Mag. 26: 476, 857Google Scholar
  7. Bohren C.F., Huffman D.R. (1983) Absorption and Scattering of Small Particles (Wiley, New York)Google Scholar
  8. Cox J. (1902) Nature 66: 54ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eberhardt P., Krankowsky D., Schulte W., Dolder U., Lämmerzahl P., Berthelier J.J., Woweries J., Stubbemann U., Hodges R.R., Hoffman J.H., Illiano J.M. (1987) Astron.Astrophys. 187: 481ADSGoogle Scholar
  10. Fowler A. (1909) Monthly Not. Roy. Astron. Soc. 70: 176, 484ADSGoogle Scholar
  11. Frost E.B., Parkhurst J.A. (1909) Astrophys. J. 29: 55ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Halm J. (1902) Nature 65: 415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Holst H. (1905) Fys. Tidskr. 4: 1Google Scholar
  14. van de Hulst H.C. (1957) Light Scattering by Small Particles (Dover, New York)Google Scholar
  15. Jaegerrnann R. (1903) Prof D.Th. Bredichin’s Mechanische Untersuchungen über Cometenformen. In systematischer Darstellung (Voss, Leipzig)Google Scholar
  16. Krankowsky D., Lämmerzahl P., Herrwerth I., Woweries J., Eberhardt P., Dolder U., Herrmann U., Schulte W., Berthelier J.J., Illiano J.M., Hodges R.R., Hoffman J.H. (1986) Nature 321: 326ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lamy P.L., Pedersen H., Vio R. (l987a) Astron. Astrophys. 187: 661Google Scholar
  18. Lamy P.L., Grün E., Perrin J.M. (l987b) Astron. Astrophys. 187: 767Google Scholar
  19. Lecacheux J., Thuillot W., Encrenaz T., Laques P., Rouan D., Despiau R. (1984) Icarus 60: 386ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mazets E.P., Sagdeev R.Z., Aptekar R.L., Golenetskii S.V., Guryan Yu.A., Dyachkov A.V., Ilyinskii V.N., Panov V.N., Petrov G.G., Savvin A.V., Sokolov I.A., Frederiks D.D., Khavenson N.G., Shapiro V.D., Shevchenko V.I. (1987) Astron. Astrophys. 187: 699ADSGoogle Scholar
  21. Mie G. (1908) Ann. Phys. 25: 377zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Miethe A. (1910) Astron. Nachr. 185: 15ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Münch W., von Pahlen E. (1910) Astron. Nachr. 185: 136Google Scholar
  24. Slipher V.M., Lampland O.C. (1911) Lowell Obs. Bulletin 2, No. 47, 252Google Scholar
  25. Wehinger P.A., Wyckhoff S., Herbig G.H., Herzberg G., Lew H. (1974) Astrophys. J. 190: L43ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wood R.W. (1904) Proc. Am. Acad. 15: 396Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus Jockers
    • 1
  1. 1.Katlenburg-LindauGermany

Personalised recommendations