Journal Article

Dynamical evolution of cometary asteroids

N. W. Harris and M. E. Bailey

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 297, issue 4, pages 1227-1236
Published in print July 1998 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 1998 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Dynamical evolution of cometary asteroids

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We present results from long-term numerical integrations of hypothetical Jupiter-family comets (JFCs) over time-scales in excess of the estimated cometary active lifetime. During inactive periods these bodies could be considered as ‘cometary’ near-Earth objects (NEOs) or ‘cometary asteroids’. The contribution of cometary asteroids to the NEO population has important implications not only for understanding the origin of inner Solar system bodies but also for a correct assessment of the impact hazard presented to the Earth by small bodies throughout the Solar system. We investigate the transfer probabilities on to ‘decoupled’ subJovian orbits by both gravitational and non-gravitational mechanisms, and estimate the overall inactive cometary contribution to the NEO population. Considering gravitational mechanisms alone, more than 90 per cent of decoupled NEOs are likely to have their origin in the main asteroid belt. When non-gravitational forces are included, in a simple model, the rate of production of decoupled NEOs from JFC orbits becomes comparable to the estimated injection rate of fragments from the main belt. The Jupiter-family (non-decoupled) cometary asteroid population is estimated to be of the order of a few hundred to a few thousand bodies, depending on the assumed cometary active lifetime and the adopted source region.

Keywords: celestial mechanics; stellar dynamics; comets: general; minor planets, asteroids

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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