Reply To: Another Comet 12P outburst?

Forums Comets Another Comet 12P outburst? Reply To: Another Comet 12P outburst?

Nick James


The fact that the total magnitude of the expanding dust coma is constant implies that it must be optically thin, i.e. individual dust grains are not shadowing other dust grains. That tells us that this feature is not a shadow. It is much more likely to be caused by variations in the dust column along our line of sight caused by the outflow dynamics close to the nucleus when the outburst occurred. The outburst itself is a very rapid event where gas and dust leave the nucleus at high velocities and then expand into a vacuum. That process shapes the three dimensional outflows which we then see projected onto a 2D image.

Richard Miles is the real expert on this and this comet and 29P have been giving him a lot of data to work with.