The contribution of icy grains to the activity of comets

Ealeal H. Beer, Morris Podolak*, Dina Prialnik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have developed a computer code (GEM-grain evolution model) to simulate the behavior of ice grains in a comet coma. The grains are assumed to be composed of water-ice with an admixture of dark material ("dirt"). An initial size distribution of grains is assumed to be ejected from the nucleus. The ejected mass is taken to be proportional to the rate of gas production by the nucleus. The efficiency for absorption and re-radiation of sunlight is computed from Mie scattering theory. The grain temperature and sublimation rate at a given heliocentric distance is then derived from energy balance considerations. The evolution of the grain size distribution is followed as a function of distance from the nucleus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-486
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Comets
  • Ices
  • Photometry


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