Systematics and Consequences of Comet Nucleus Outgassing Torques

  title={Systematics and Consequences of Comet Nucleus Outgassing Torques},
  author={David C. Jewitt},
  journal={The Astronomical Journal},
  • D. Jewitt
  • Published 19 March 2021
  • Physics, Geology
  • The Astronomical Journal
Anisotropic outgassing from comets exerts a torque sufficient to rapidly change the angular momentum of the nucleus, potentially leading to rotational instability. Here, we use empirical measures of spin changes in a sample of comets to characterize the torques, and to compare them with expectations from a simple model. Both the data and the model show that the characteristic spin-up timescale, τ s , is a strong function of nucleus radius, r n. Empirically, we find that the timescale for comets… 
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