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Conference Papers Year : 2015

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: Non-Gravitational Forces Based on its Detailed Shape

Horst Uwe Keller
  • Function : Author
Stefano Mottola
  • Function : Author
Yuri Skorov
  • Function : Author
Björn Davidsson
  • Function : Author
Pedro Gutiérrez
  • Function : Author
Lucie Maquet
  • Function : Author


Non-gravitational forces caused by sublimation on a cometary nucleus influence its orbital parameters and its rotational properties. Based on thermal models and rough estimates of the nucleus shape properties such as its mass and density can be derived [1, 2]. The uncertainty of the nucleus shape influences the quality of the results. Changes of the angular momentum of the nucleus rotation are more strongly influenced by details of the shape and surface. The long term observations of the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by OSIRIS [3] during the rendezvous with ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft result in a very detailed shape model [3]. We use a shape model with > 105 facets to simulate the distributed forces due to sublimation and to calculate their exerted torques. The determination of the overall activity and its spatial and timely distribution over the nucleus remains a major challenge. Early observations revealed that the rotation period had changed from its last perihelion passage in 2009 [4]. The detailed shape model along with thermal modeling makes it possible to calculate the diurnal activity of the facets [6, 7]. The net torque integrated over the whole surface causes a change in the angular momentum. We also calculate the forces acting on the motion of the nucleus. This can be monitored by determinations of the spacecraft positions during the Rosetta mission. We will compare our results with the traditional approach to calculate the non-gravitational forces [8].[1, 2] Davidsson, B. J. R. & Gutiérrez, P. J., Icarus, 168, 392, 2004, Icarus, 176, 453, 2005[3] H. U. Keller, C. Barbieri, P. Lamy, H. Rickman, R. Rodrigo, K.-P. Wenzel, H. Sierks, M. A’Hearn, F. Angrilli, M. Angulo, et al., SSR, 128 (1-4): 433-506, 2007.[4] Preusker, F., Scholten, F., Matz, K.-D., et al., Astronomy & Astrophysics, accepted, 2015[5] S. Mottola, S. Lowry, C. Snodgrass, P. Lamy, I. Toth, et al. A&A, 569: L2, Sept. 2014.[6] H. U. Keller, S. Mottola, B. Davidsson, S. Schröder, Y. Skorov, E. Kührt, et al.. A&A, in press[7] H. U. Keller, S. Mottola, Y. V. Skorov, and L. Jorda, Astronomy and Astrophysics Letter , 2015.[8] B. G. Marsden, Z. Sekanina, and D. K. Yeomans, Astronomical Journal, 78: 211, Mar. 1973.
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insu-03580890 , version 1 (18-02-2022)



Horst Uwe Keller, Stefano Mottola, Yuri Skorov, Björn Davidsson, Pedro Gutiérrez, et al.. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: Non-Gravitational Forces Based on its Detailed Shape. American Astronomical Society, 2015, à renseigner, Unknown Region. p.2644-2652. ⟨insu-03580890⟩
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