Jupiter–family comet

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A member of the group of periodic comets whose orbits have been modified by close passages to Jupiter. Jupiter-family comets have orbital periods less than 20 years and direct orbits with inclinations below 40°. An example is Comet 16P/Brooks 2, whose orbit was shortened from an initial period of 29 years to only 7 years after passing within 0.001 AU of Jupiter in 1886. The comet's perihelion distance was decreased from 5.48 to 1.95 AU. Tidal disruption by Jupiter's gravity split the nucleus of Comet Brooks 2 into several fragments. Other celebrated Jupiter-family comets are Encke, Giacobini–Zinner, Grigg–Skjellerup, Tuttle–Giacobini–Kresák, 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (the target of the Rosetta probe), and 81P/Wild 2 (visited in 2004 by the Stardust mission). Comets in the Jupiter family probably originated from the Kuiper Belt. As of the end of 2010 over 400 members of the family were known.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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