36Debris-2 - • Source of material for comet’s tail Deep...

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Three Swarms of Debris 1. Asteroid Belt 2. Kuiper Belt 3. Oort Cloud The Oort Cloud Debris Swarm 3 Cloud of comets • Scattered by galactic tides: solar system moves above/below the galactic plane ~50 Myr Kuiper belt: On orderly orbits from 30-100 AU in disk of solar system Oort cloud: On random orbits extending to about 50,000 AU Only a tiny number of comets enter the inner solar system - most stay far from the Sun
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Comet Facts Formed beyond the frost line, comets are icy counterparts to asteroids. Nucleus of comet a “dirty snowball” Most comets do not have tails. Most comets remain perpetually frozen in the outer solar system. Only comets that enter the inner solar system grow tails. Anatomy of a Comet Coma is atmosphere that comes from heated nucleus Plasma tail is gas escaping from coma, pushed by solar wind Dust tail is pushed by photons Growth of Tail Sun-grazing Comets
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Nucleus of Comet • A “dirty snowball” • Small ~10km
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Unformatted text preview: • Source of material for comet’s tail Deep Impact • Mission to study nucleus of Comet Tempel 1 • Projectile hit surface on July 4. 2005 • Many telescopes studied aftermath of impact Nucleus of Comet 19P/Borrelly 8 x 3.2 km in diameter Imaged by Deep Space 1 2001 ~43 m/pixel Nucleus of Comet 1P/Halley 16 x 8 km in diameter Imaged by Giotto, 1986 ~100 m/pixel (but only at top left) Comet Borrelly Deep Space 1 Comet Wild 2 Stardust Comets eject small particles that follow the comet around in its orbit and cause meteor showers when Earth crosses the comet’s orbit. Influence of Jovian Planets Jupiter has directed some comets toward Earth but has ejected many more into the Oort cloud. Frequency of Impacts • Small impact happen almost daily. • Impacts large enough to cause mass extinctions are many millions of years apart...
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