Can ice survive in main-belt comets? Long-term evolution models of comet 133P/Elst-Pizarro

Dina Prialnik*, Eric D. Rosenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

Abstract

We present detailed evolutionary calculations spanning 4.6 × 109 yr for a model representing main-belt comet 133P/Elst-Pizarro, considering different initial compositions: mixtures of ices and dust. We find that only crystalline H2O ice may survive in the interior of the nucleus, and may be found at depths ranging from ~50 to 150 m. Other volatiles will be completely lost. We further show, by means of fully three-dimensional evolutionary calculations, that if the ice is exposed, say as a result of a collision, the resulting activity is similar to the observed pattern of the behaviour of the comet for a large spin axis inclination, even if only a patch of ice is exposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L79-L83
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Volume399
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Keywords

  • Comets: general
  • Comets: individual: 133P/Elst-Pizarro

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