Dynamics and Structures of Cometary Dust Tails

  • K. Beisser
Part of the Reviews in Modern Astronomy book series (MOD.ASTRONOMY, volume 2)


According to the Whipple-Model (Whipple 1950, 1951), the nucleus of a comet consists mainly of water ice with embedded dust grains. On the nucleus’ approach to the sun around the perihel of its orbit, the ice is vaporizing and so the enclosed dust particles are set free. They are dragged along by the gas flow due to the gas pressure. In a distance of about 20 nucleus radii, the density of the gas has decreased so much that the gas flow does no longer control the motion of the dust particles. Hence, they move through the solar system as free particles.


Compute Image Synthetic Image Emission Point Zenith Distance Tail Structure 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Beisser
    • 1
  1. 1.Dr. Remeis-ObservatoryBambergFed. Rep. of Germany

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