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Burgrdens Lrcentrum

Ibrahim Ziazadeh
Project work course n1201:

Dedicated to all those who adore the astonishing world of the outer space.

A scientific review project to be handed in to Ulf Jonasson


Done: week 5 - week 24 Handed in: June 15, 2005


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Table of Contents
1. Summary ........................................................................................... 1 2. Introduction ................................................................................... 1-5 2.1. 2.2. 2.3. 2.4. 2.5. 2.6. Background & Objective ................................................... 1-2 Question State ................................................................... 2-3 Method .................................................................................. 3 Source Review ................................................................... 3-4 Typographical Conventions ................................................ 4 Structure ............................................................................ 4-5

3. Comets in General ....................................................................... 5-29 3.1. Defining a comet ................................................................ 5-6 3.2. The Morphology of Comets: 3.2.1. The Visible Parts of a Comet ................................ 6-7 3.2.2. The Invisible Parts of a Comet .............................. 7-8 3.3 The Chemical Abundance of Comets ............................... 8-9 3.4. The Mathematical & Physical Aspect of Comets: 3.4.1. The Physics of the Ion Tail .................................. 9-10 3.4.2. The Physics of the Dust Tail ............................. 10-12 3.4.3. The Physics of the Nucleus .............................. 12-13 3.4.4. The Conicals ...................................................... 13-17 3.4.5. The Orbits of Comets ........................................ 17-24 3.5. The Non-gravitational Forces ....................................... 24-25 3.6. The Origin & Formation of Comets: 3.6.1. Preface .................................................................... 26 3.6.2. The Formation Mechanism ............................... 26-27 3.7. The Luminosity of Comets ............................................ 28-29 3.8. Nomenclature of Comets ................................................... 29

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4. The Comet Hale-Bopp ............................................................... 30-45 4.1. The Discovery ..................................................................... 30 4.2. The Magnitude ............................................................... 30-31 4.3. The Molecular Composition .......................................... 31-37 4.4. The Nucleus & the Coma: 4.4.1. Diameter of the Nucleus .................................... 37-38 4.4.2. Gas Emission from the Nucleus ....................... 38-39 4.4.3. Rotation of the Nucleus .................................... 39-40 4.5. The Dust Tail .................................................................. 40-41 4.6. The Ion Tail ......................................................................... 41 4.7. The Sodium Tail ............................................................. 41-43 4.8. The Orbit & Orbital Elements ........................................ 44-45 5. Conclusion ................................................................................. 46-47 6. Glossary ..................................................................................... 48-50 7. Bibliography .............................................................................. 51-57


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1. Summary
Most of the people, classified as dummies of comets, may well have a hard time finding and gathering the information they need on comets in general. They might find the information they need, however they will still not be able to select the most important facts concerning a comets common components for instance. Others not belonging to the dummies category are more interested in the visual applications of a comet. Therefore, this astronomical report will inform readers on the amazing physical and the chemical aspects of comets. The physical and chemical knowledge that you already have from the Physics A and Chemistry Acourses will, for the first time, lead to the main idea of why one used these two fields in order to analyze comets; without taking into account the fact that you will acquire even more knowledge on these scientific applications during your reading. Have you ever heard about a comet having an average diameter nucleus of 60 km separate its nucleus into different parts? What about a comet so bright that no telescope or any other device is needed to observe it during more than a period of a year? These are one of the few reasons why the astonishing comet Hale-Bopp will be covered. The remarkable and unusual facts regarding this exceptional comet, discovered in the mid 90s, has resulted into the intensive and competitive research lead by professional scientists around the world and even by any other amateurish observer. Therefore, think of the shocking effect that these coming facts on an object such as a comet will have on you as a reader!

2. Introduction 2.1. Background & Objective

The word comet used in most European languages was first named by the ancient Greeks. This word is derived from the Greek word, kometes, which means the hairy one. However, the earliest existent annals of observations of comet go back to around 1,000 BC in China. These comets were regarded by most people as holy omens - for good or bad. For example, the Aztec ruler of Mexico believed that the coming of the Spaniards was an achievement of prophecies brought by comets. Whereas, in 1066, Harold the ruler of the Saxon England found out that his kingdom got invaded by William of Normandy. People then thought that the observed comet was a bad sign. However, after the assassination of Harold in the Battle of Hastings, William claimed that the comet had foreseen his success; which was the opposite of what a comets significance had earlier for mankind. It wasnt until 1577, when the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe showed that comets were instead celestial corpses. In the 17th century, Isaac Newton proved that the movements of the comets were referred to the same laws that control the planets in their orbit the law of gravitational forces.


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The science of comets revealed by the modern sophisticated devices used in the 19th and 20th century has made it possible for us to understand the purpose of studying comets. People might still wonder: Why do astronomers and astrophysicians invest so much money for researching on an insignificant celestial body such as a comet? Well, there are very good reasons to this. Many scientists have reasons to believe that the study of comets can lead to the understanding of the formation of our Solar System, since comets were initially formed at the same time as the Sun for about 4.5 billions years ago. A clue to the success of this research is for instance, the study of the chemical species ejected by a mobile comet. This research can also in the future lead to confirm the theory that states that earths water is originated by comets that bombarded the Earth as falling rain, which most scientists agree on. These are two of many other reasons why I have decided to inform readers about comets characteristics including the different parts of a comet, the chemical abundance, the origin & formation, the luminosity and how comets are named; where most of these aspects include subsections for aim to analyze each part deeper. Moreover, the general section of comets will also comprise the mathematical & physical aspect of comets, and the non-gravitational force aspect. Eventually, the amazing chemical composition aspect of the remarkable comet Hale-Bopp will be examined, including the most fundamental facts concerning Hale-Bopps discovery, the magnitude, the nucleus & coma, the orbits & orbital elements and its dust, ion and above all the unusual sodium tail.

2.2. Question State

As mentioned earlier, one of the most crucial sections was the mathematical and physical aspect of comets, which is therefore one of the most significant sections to understand how our knowledge of mathematics and physics can be applied to a celestial body, instead of lab applications that we are used to apply in school for instance. Hence, the fundamental question to be answer will be: What kinds of mathematical and physical applications can be done on comets? The section of Hale-Bopp is extremely essential when bearing in mind that the comet Hale-Bopp was considered as one of the most astonishing comets ever observed by mankind. The comet Halley was considered as the comet of the century before the observation of the comet Hale-Bopp. However thanks to the high technology that scientists have had since the early 90s, it has been possible for astronomers and astrophysicians to analyze the comet Hale-Bopp to a full extent, thus more than any other observed comet. As a result, one can take the following question into account:


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What is so special with the comet Hale-Bopp, bearing in mind that it got the title of the comet of the century?

2.3. Method
As a method, the information used in this report has mainly been taken from the internet. The reason is quite obvious. It is more preferable to use websites for astronomical information, especially for specific celestial bodies such as the comet Hale-Bopp that is constantly being analyzed than using books that cannot be updated as often in comparison. Besides the use of websites a PowerPoint presentation has also been made containing images and diagrams that cannot be well seen on printed paper because of their color or large size that is compulsory to maintain in order to not lose any color and symbol details. The information found in the first chapter - comets in general - of the report has been primarily used from astronomical books as well as internet, since the general information on comets cannot, and will not be modified in the future, due to the fact that the information mentioned in these books are primarily related on scientific research that involves any observed comet.

2.4. Source Review

The use of websites has been selected with awareness taking for example, in mind that the writers name must occur on the website. Besides that, the website must belong to a well-known organization rather than an individual. Hence, this information found in this report is primarily taken from NASAs website and then the European Southern Observatory (ESO) home page, which have been the most useful source of information: and In addition, other websites belonging to the scientific observatory, such as the European Space Agency's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), many private websites (with .edu in the URL address, meaning education) have been used. Here are their home pages: respectively


Copyright 2005-2013 - Ibrahim Ziazadeh - The reason why Ive chosen these websites is to get trustworthy information from very famous observatories and companies. As a result of this manner of selecting worthy information I have been able to be 100% certain that all the facts used in this report are absolutely truthful. In order to get information on comets mathematical and physical field I have consulted both internet websites but mostly astronomical books, such as by Serway, Louis and James; due to the fact that there was a lack of information on this aspect on the internet.

2.5. Typographical Conventions

This report has a quite many topographical conventions, used in order to make the understanding easier for reader. The fact that most readers might not be familiar with astronomical terms, which also includes chemical and physical terms, has been taken into consideration. Therefore any sophisticated term which is mentioned in italic will be found defined in the glossary. Additionally, there will also be typographical convention applied on mathematical formulas found in both chapters. The equations will have Courier New as font, a centered and bold with a font size of 14 and having a black cornet line (except for those being less important)surrounding them. The aim with this format is to catch the readers attention on the formulas, which is very essential for those who are interested in the physical and mathematical applications regarding comets. Besides, all the units and symbols of the given equations will be mentioned in Arial. In addition, all the key words related to their appropriate aspect will have a bold font face with the same font size. Finally, the reader might encounter on some words being underlined that helping the reader to pay for attention on this simple word that has a major role in a given sentence.

2.6. Structure
As it already has been noticed by viewing the table of contents page, I have divided my informative report in two chapters, mainly comets in general and the comet Hale-Bopp with their corresponding pages. The purpose of this is simply because of the fact that the information found in these two chapters has absolutely nothing in common. Within each chapter an example of the following subdivision has been used:


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3. 3.1. 3.2. 3.2.1 and so forth. This very same subdivision has been used for the chapter 4. This subdivision has been arranged given that the information used in some cases belonged to more or less the same item. In other words, they were sort of related to each other. As a result, this arrangement has made it possible for readers to read this report in one shot, without the need to read back and forth in order to note and unite information needed. Thus, the use of this report is an excellent choice for those who want to write a term paper on comets or comet Hale-Bopp or even to be tutored.

3. Comets in General 3.1. Defining a comet

Before starting with this topic, it is compulsory to know the difference between the following five celestial corpses: an asteroid, a comet, a meteor, a meteoroid and a meteorite; which many people have the tendency to confound. First of all, asteroids and comets are both classified as nearEarth objects. Asteroids are composed of rock or metal and are believed to have been created in the warmer inner solar system, the asteroid belt a zone between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. An asteroid can be regarded as a small planet with a size below 1,000 km. However, most asteroids have a diameter that is comprised between one and several hundreds of kilometers Comets, though, are made of gigantic snowballs or ice balls, dust, rocky fragments and organic materials reaching a diameter of ten or dozen kilometers. On the other hand, some comets can have a much greater diameter, such as the comet Hale-Bopp with a diameter range of 30-40 km. But they are invisible during ten or a dozen, hundreds or even thousands of years on account of their small diameter relative to their massive surrounding the outer space. Such celestial corpses are thought to have been formed in the cold outer solar system. However these two objects do have something in common. Scientists have reasons to believe that they both are the earliest remains of the opening period of the formation of our solar system for more than 4 billion years ago. You might already be familiar with the term shooting star. Well, a shooting star is the same as a meteor. A meteor is the streak of light seen during the night caused by debris (from a comet or asteroid) from space through the Earths atmosphere.


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However the debris itself is called a meteoroid. They are formed when a comet passes near the sun where the solar heat releases dust particles from the comets icy tail. If a meteoroid entering through the Earths atmosphere doesnt vaporize completely before reaching the ground, its name gets changed to a meteorite. Read on further in order to find more information on the amazing world of comets.

3.2. Morphology of Comets

3.2.1. The Visible Parts of a Comet As a drawing is always better than a long speech, we indicate on this image the different parts of a comet.
Dust tail

The Head (or Coma):


Ion tail

The coma is a nebulosity having a spherical form and centered on the nucleus. The coma reaches a diameter of hundreds of thousands of kilometers and sometimes up to 1 AU. It is dependent on the comets distance from the sun and the size of the nucleus. But how does the coma form? When the comet approaches the sun it gets gradually warm; where the ice sublimates and the frozen gas evaporates by sweeping along the rocky fragments and dusts. At the very same time a diffuse nebulosity like a

Fig. Different visible parts of a comet.

cloud - is formed: the coma (or head). This coma becomes luminous by the solar light and diffuses by the dust and its fluorescence in contact with gases, and gets surrounded by an enormous hydrogen envelope detectable in ultraviolet. The Ion (or Plasma) Tail:

The ion tail, consisting mostly of ions such as CO+, N2+ and CO2+, is straight and several hundred million kilometers long. This type of tails is sometimes called plasma tail, due to the fact that is composed of plasma. But how does this type of tail form? As mentioned earlier, the coma surrounded by an enormous hydrogen envelope is detectable in ultraviolet. Pushed back by the solar wind, the ions formed in the coma engender - with a velocity up to 100 km/s - always an elongated bluish


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rectilinear tail positioned in the opposite direction of the sun. This tail, colored in blue, is due to the presence of carbon monoxide ions (CO+) from the sublimation of gases that occur in the nucleus. However, there is a more accurate reason to this. The CO+ absorbs the UV radiation and fluorescence by emitting energy at a wavelength of 0.42 m (or 420 nm). ** For information on the physical applications of the ion tail consult the section 3.4.1. ** The Dust Tail:

This type of tail, also pointing away from the sun, is the easiest part of the comet to see and isnt as long as the ion tail. The dust particles ejected from the nucleus that is already pushed back due to the pressure of the solar wind, forms a yellowish dust tail, which is larger, more diffuse and curved than the ion tail. This dust tail, containing silicates, carbon and carbon compounds, is usually white but gets yellowish while it reflects the sunlight to us. Furthermore, the dust tail normally has an orientation that differs from the ion tails one. In fact, once they have been expulsed from the coma, the dust particles in the tail will be governed by the motion of the comet along its orbit around the Sun, causing the dust tail to be curved as the comet follows its trajectory. Besides the dependence of the motion of the comet, the dust tails orientation in space is also depended of the size of the dust particles and the speed of the ejection from the coma. ** For information on the physical applications of the dust tail consult the section 3.4.2. ** 3.2.2. The Invisible Parts of a Comet The Hydrogen Cloud: The neutral hydrogen cloud is very large at millions of kilometers in diameter. This type of cloud wasnt discovered until 1970 in comets Tago-Sato-Kosako and Bennett from spectroscopy by satellites. The reason why the hydrogen cloud was not discovered earlier is because it is not visible from Earth.

Fig. Picture on the neutral hydrogen cloud surrounding the coma of a comet


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Moreover, the main reason is that the atomic hydrogen is emitted in the ultraviolet (UV), however the ozone layer in the ionosphere stops these waves from penetrating and reaching land. Therefore, the hydrogen cloud can only be observed with satellites. The Nucleus: The nucleus, a compact corpse of an irregular form having a diameter varying between 1 and 100 km, is essentially composed of ice and dust. The ice sublimates and the gas released engendering the dust. Much of the cometary materials ejected are very volatiles since the nucleus is already active from a distance of five, eight or even of 15 AU from the sun. It follows that even at far heliocentric distance, the sunlight reflected from the comet does not come from the solid nucleus, instead from the halo of materials surrounding it; thus making it impossible to measure the diameter of the nucleus. Nevertheless, if the comet approaches sufficiently the Earth one can then observe its nucleus.

Fig. The nucleus of the comet Halley, taken in 1986.

** For information on the physical applications of the nucleus consult the section 3.4.3. There is also the section 3.5., on the nucleus movement in space. ** The Sodium Tail:

This tremendous sodium tail was observed for the first time in the comet HaleBopp and will therefore be covered uniquely in the section 4.7. of the Hale-Boppchapter.

3.3. The Chemical Abundance of Comets

The comet becomes active when the acquired solar energy is superior to the sublimation energy of the water - since a comet is composed of 75-80 % water. This position in space corresponds to a distance of 2.5 AU from the Sun with a temperature of -70C. Yet one has also observed active comets found in greater distances, which had lead to expect the presence of more volatile corpses than water in the nucleus; such as carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrocyanide (HCN) and methanol (CH3OH).


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Subjected to solar radiation, the corpses of the sublimated molecules (parent molecules = molcules mres) undergo chemical transformations where the produced products are free radicals, atoms or ions (simple molecules = molcules filles). One can easily identify the simple molecules by their emission spectrum, which is found in the visible area. The identification of the parent molecules is more difficult since their spectrum is indeed found in the infrared, which is blocked by the atmosphere. Thus, it is not possible to determine the composition of comets in a direct manner. Experts can on the other hand express suppositions thanks to the acquaintance of the simple molecules.
Fig.3.3.1. Illustration showing the produced simple molecules from parent molecules, while the comet enters in the phase of activity.

3.4. The Mathematical & Physical Aspect of Comets

3.4.1. The Physics of the Ion Tail

Fig. Illustration showing the interaction between a comet and the solar wind that result in the engendering of the ion tail, where the ions flow away from the Sun between oppositely directed magnetic field lines in the tail. When the comet enters in a region - at far heliocentric distance - where the magnetic field of the solar wind changes direction, the comet loses its ion tail.

The magnetic field lines of the occurrence of the solar wind are compressed when they penetrate into the comets atmosphere, which captures the ions from


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the solar wind. By accumulating these ions, the mass of the solar wind increases and thus slowing down in accordance with the physical law of conservation of linear momentum. It is this phenomenon that induces the compression of the magnetic field lines of the solar wind. After penetrating into the atmosphere of the comet, the quantity of ions captured finishes to get enough large so that the ionic pressure moving away from the nucleus of the comet compensates the ionic pressure carried by the solar wind. This equilibrium prevents the plasma and the lines of force of the solar wind to continue their progression in the atmosphere, which represents a magnetic field zone of zero in the comet. The solar wind and its magnetic field are directed towards the comet with a velocity of around 400 km/s. However, the ions from the comet recently formed are directed towards the sun with a velocity of only about 1 km/s. These reasons are enough to predict what will occur under the collision: When the ions try to leave the atmosphere of the comet by penetrating into the solar wind, they are trapped by the magnetic fields of the solar wind. Therefore these ions are forced to return towards the comet in the same direction as the solar wind, in other words by moving away from the sun. As mentioned earlier, when the mass of the solar wind increases with the supply of ions from the comet, the velocity of the solar wind diminishes because the quantity of the movement remains constant according to the law of conservation of linear momentum. This physical law can also be expressed mathematically:

p = mv


where p is the quantity of movement (in kgm/s), m is the mass in movement (in kg) and v, the velocity (in m/s). 3.4.2. The Physics of the Dust Tail The dust emitted by the nucleus is subjected to two different and opposite forces: 1) As mentioned earlier, the solar radiation pressure acting on the dust particles - due to the solar wind - that tries to push it away from the Sun (Frad). 2) The other, force of solar gravity trying to drag it towards the Sun (Fgrav). By taking the difference of the two forces in mind we represent the ratio of the radiation pressure to gravitational force by (1 - ) where:

(1 - ) = Frad Fgrav


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Assuming that the dust particles are spherical we can write the formulae for Frad and Fgrav as follows:

Frad = d2 Qpr FS 4 c 4r2



Fgrav = GMS gd3 r2 6

Eq. By applying Newtons gravitational law

where FS stands for the solar radiation field imposing on the grain (dust particle) of diameter d and density d and Qpr, the efficiency factor for radiation pressure. Thus Eq. 2 and 3 can be solved in Eq. 1, giving the following:

(1 - ) = Frad = 3QprFS 1 Fgrav 8cGMS dd

Where this equation can be simplified by using C, as a constant:


(1 - ) = C (dd)-1


C = 3QprFS = 1.210-4 Qpr 8cGMs


The value of (1-) tells us on the nature of the orbit of the particle ejected from the nucleus. There are two major situations to consider. First of all, it is crucial to be aware of the fact that the particles are constantly ejected from the nucleus as a function of time. The locus of these particles having the same value of (1-) is called the Syndyname (or Syndyne) curve; knowing that the ejected particles possess the same size - thus the same value of d (diameter). Secondly, the case of the spreading of particles that are ejected at any given time is to consider as well. The occurrence of an outbreak is an ideal example to this concern. Hence, these particles will have different values of (1-) where the locus of the particles describing this case is called the Synchrone curve. Figure: This figure will be drawn during the oral presentation. It will show the trajectories of the particles ejected from the nucleus and the formation of the dust tail. Thus, all information concerning this figure will not be

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mentioned any further in this report. It will instead be included in my speech. 3.4.3. The Physics of the Nucleus It has been proven by experts that it is not possible to determine the size of a comets nucleus since it cannot be done by pure calculation. The most common method utilized is by the use of the photometry of the comet at far heliocentric distances. Why is this method used only at far distances from the Sun? First of all, in such far distances the surrounding of the comet is located at very low temperatures. Thus, this makes it impossible for sublimation of gases from the nucleus to occur, which needs enough kinetic energy from the solar radiation. Therefore, such far heliocentric distances have been chosen in order to minimize the uncertainty of the determined dimensions of the nucleus. It is thanks to the incident solar radiation reflected from the nucleus that helps scientists to determine the size of a nucleus. This observation is done by taking the far heliocentric distances into account. It is important to notice that these far distances is referred to as when the comet is before and after the stage of activity thus before and after the perihelion. Before moving forward to the equation of the magnitude of the nucleus, we present the following formula of the flux, Fc, of reflected solar light from the nucleus:

Fc = ()pvSFS r22


where the flux, Fc, measured on Earth at a distance in AU from the comet is proportional to the cross section of the nucleus, S, and the geometric albedo, pv. In addition, () is the phase function, which is stabilized to the phase angle = 0 and FS is the solar flux at r = 1 AU. Note that physically the phase angle () is the Earth-comet-Sun angle in space. The preceding equation can be written in a more appropriate manner in order to bring forward the magnitude of the nucleus V(1,1,0), meaning at r = = 1 AU and = 0 and determining the radius of the nucleus, RN also called the nuclear radius, as follows:

log(RN) = 2.14 0.2 V(1,1,0) 0.5 log(pv)

It is crucial to notice that the albedo, pv, and the phase function, () are difficult to determine. Scientists state that this is due to the presence of very dark dust covering large parts of the nucleus, which do not allow the solar incident radiation


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to be reflected as normal. As a result, only 10 % or even less of the incident light will be reflected to the Earth. The method of photometry, named earlier, has unfortunately disadvantages. It is the photographic plates that arent sensible enough to the enormously low surface-brightness, which the coma possesses at far heliocentric distances. This method was then hopefully replaced by the modern CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) detector. It became the most effective device determining the nuclear radius, RN-value. This measurement could be done from the phase of inactive nucleus at far heliocentric distances from the sun by seeing 9 to 10 times farther out into space than the previous photographic plates. This lead to the registration of a very high effectiveness of about 90 to 95 %, compared to the insignificant 1 % by the earlier photometry technique. 1 3.4.4. The Conicals Before starting with this section, it is good to remind readers that this unit will help you to understand the next section: the orbits of comets, by analyzing the different trajectories celestial corpses can take. In fact, these ones are the particular objects of obeying the mathematical laws: the conicals. The orbits are characterized by their eccentricity. In a mathematical point of view, one can say that the eccentricity is a parameter associated to every conic section. In other words, it can be seen as the measure of how much the conic section deviates from being a circular. The figure below shows conic sections, which result from the intersecting of a cone with a plane:
Parabola Circle



Fig. This cone shows the different existing orbits in space.

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Now we can express mathematically the orbits characterized by their eccentricity, as follows:

e = c/a


where e is the eccentricity, c, the half distance between the focus (singular of foci) and a is the semi (half)-major axis. These variables are of course not obvious to understand, although they will be illustrated shortly in this unit. By the eccentricity one can classify the trajectories in five different groups: Circles, having an eccentricity value: Ellipses, having an eccentricity value: Parabolas, having an eccentricity value: Hyperbolas, having an eccentricity value: Straight line, having an eccentricity value: e=0 0<e<1 e=1 e>1 e (infinity)

However, not all of these groups are referred to cometary trajectories. Comet can only have parabolic, elliptical or hyperbolic orbits. Therefore, the mathematical expressions that these conics will be explained: 1) Parabolas: A parabola is the set of points in a plane where the distance from a fixed point F (called the focus) and a fixed line (called the directrix) are equal. This definition is illustrated by the next figure, where the point halfway between the focus and the directrix lies on the parabola is called the vertex. The line through the focus perpendicular to the directrix is called the axis (or axis of symmetry). If we place the vertex of this parabolic graph at the origin O and its directrix parallel to the x-axis we can obtain a particular simple equation. Thus, if the focus of this graph is the point (0, p), then the directrix will get the equation y = -p, so that the parabola will have the following equation:

Fig. Figure of any given parabola illustrating where focus, the directrix, vertex and the axis of symmetry are.

x2 = 4py


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This equation can also be arranged to a simpler one, where if we put a = 1/(4p) this formula will become:

y = ax2


A fact to this equation is if a>0 the parabola will open upward (as the figure above shows) or else, if a<0 then the graph will open downward. What happens if the curve is positioned horizontally instead of vertically, as the one shown above? This type of graph does also exist and is a parabola too. However its equation will be modified to x = ay2 (where only the x and y variable are swished) due to the fact that it is inclined horizontally. This horizontal parabola opens to the right if a>0 and to the left if a<0. You might have noticed that the equations x2 = 4py and y2 = 4px are simplified since their vertex is located at the origin O. Therefore, here is the general form of an equation of a parabola, shown in the figure above: If p is the directed distance from the vertex to focus, an equation of the parabola with its vertex at (h,k) and with its axis vertical is

(x-h)2 = 4p(y-k)


However a parabola with the same vertex and with its axis horizontal has the following equation:

(y-h)2 = 4p(x-k)
2) Ellipses:


An ellipse is a curve where the sum of distances from any point on the curve to two fixed points, F1 and F2, which are called foci (plural of focus), are constant. The points of intersection of the ellipse and its principal axis are called the vertices (or simply vertex). The semi-latus rectum is the distance from a focus to the orbit of the ellipse itself, measured along a line that is perpendicular to the major axis. If 2a is the constant referred to in the definition of an ellipse, if the foci are at (c, 0) and (-c, 0), and if b2 = a2 c2, then the equation of the ellipse having a horizontal major axis becomes:

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Figure of an ellipse having a horizontal major axis of a fixed distance 2a, illustrating the foci, the vertex and the point P and obeying the rule d1 + d2 = 2a.

x2 + y2 = 1 a2 b2


Again, we also have to consider ellipses in a more general form. So if the center of an ellipse is at (h, k) and the distance between the vertical major axis is 2a, then the formula is modifies to:

(x-h)2 + (y-k)2 = 1 a2 b2 (y-k)2 + (x-h)2 = 1 a2 b2

where the a-value is always larger than b-value.


however if the major axis is horizontal, then the ellipse gets the following form:

As you might have noticed again, we basically altered the variables x to y (and inversely) of the before last equation in order obtain the last given formula. Please note that while solving mathematical problems involving analyzing ellipses, the question might not provide you the equation as shown below. Instead, the equation can be modified where the (x - h)2 and (y - k)2 have been expanded and then simplified, ending up in the following form:

Ax2 + Cy2 + Dx + Ey + F = 0
where A and C have the same sign.


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3) Hyperbolas: A hyperbola is the geometrical set of points where the distance between two fixed points, foci, has a constant difference in absolute value. As with the ellipse, the line going through the foci is called the principal axis, the points where the hyperbola intersects the principal axis are called the vertices (or vertex) and the point halfway between the vertices is called the center. Note that the center here is not at the origin. A hyperbolic graph has an auxiliary rectangle formed by two diagonal asymptotes intersecting the center (h, k). These two asymptotes have the following linear equation: y = (b/a) x and y = - (b/a) x


This illustrates a hyperbola that has a horizontal transverse axis where two foci, the conjugate axis, vertices and auxiliary rectangle with its two diagonal asymptotes occur.

The standard form of the equation of a hyperbola is the exactly the same as the one for the ellipse but with a minus sign instead of a plus. So if the center of a hyperbola is at (h, k) and the distance between the vertixes is 2a, then the equation of the hyperbola is of the following form:

(x-h)2 (y-k)2 = 1 a2 b2
if the principal axis is horizontal, and


(y-k)2 - (x-h)2 = 1 a2 b2


As one can see, the graph of a hyperbola consists of two curves. But where does the second curve come from? The view of the two coming figures will explain this.

giving the following hyperbolic graph

Fig. Two figures illustrating the origin of the second symmetrical curve in a hyperbola.

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3.4.5. The Orbits of Comets Preface: What is the purpose of measuring the orbit of comets? First of all, the analytic geometry of the orbits of comets has been analyzed. In other words, the mathematical properties of orbit of comets have been carried out by intend to make the physical calculations of the orbits of comets much easier to understand and to apply. Thus, this section will comprise astrophysics applied to the orbits of comets in movement. The Fundamental Relations of the Orbital Movements:

In the absence of the non-gravitational effects and of planetary disturbances, the comet, of negligible mass in comparison with the Sun, traverses a conical section where the Sun occupies one of the foci. Before going any further, notice that this fact was first discovered by the German astronomer Johannes Kepler. Keplers first law states the following: All planets move in elliptical orbits with the Sun at one of the focal points. His statement is not only applied to planets orbiting in elliptically around the Sun, but even comet or any other celestial corps in space.
Fig. Illustration of the elliptic orbit of a comet having the Sun at one focus.

Please note that the following facts are applied on comet, whereas they were first applied on orbiting (closed system) planets by Newton and Kepler. In case the system is not closed, such as parabolic of hyperbolic orbits, then one must specify which celestial corps is being analyzing. The total energy E - i.e. the sum of both the kinetic and potential energy (E=K+U) - of a corps, such as a comet, determines the type of orbit. This can be described by the following equation:

E = mv2 GMm 2 r


where r represents the heliocentric distance, v is the velocity and G, the gravitational constant. M and m, are the masses of the Sun and of a moving body with a velocity v in the vicinity of the massive mass M respectively, where M is much smaller than m (M >> m). Note that when the E-value is less than 0 (E<0)

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then we have an elliptic orbit and when the E-value is above 0 (E>0) we get a hyperbolic orbit. Now lets assume that a planet, such as the Earth, moves along its orbit form point P to Q. We can prove that the moving mass m from point P has exactly the same total energy as later on point Q, in three-dimensional space. Mathematically, it is shown as follows:

E = mvi2 GMm = mvf2 GMm 2 ri 2 rf


This equation shows that E may be positive, negative, or zero, depending on the value of the velocity v. For the case of the Earth-Sun, the E-value is less than zero. Newtons second law can be applied to m in a system where E<0 with a mass m moving in a circular orbit about a body of mass M, where M >> m, giving the following:

GMm = mv2 r2 r
Multiplying both sides by r and dividing by 2 gives:


mv2 = GMm 2 2r
Substituting this into equation 2.3.1., we obtain:


E = GMm GMm 2r r
simplified to


E = - GMm 2r


One can clearly see now that the total energy is always negative in the case of circular orbits. Note that the total energy is also negative in the case of elliptical orbits, such as for many planets and comets. Hence, the expression for E for elliptical orbits is the same as equation 7 with r replaced by the semi-major axis length, a, as follows:

E = - GMm 2a


The semi-latus rectum p of the ellipse is expressed by the following equation:

p = a(1 e2)


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Similarly, for a parabola the semi-latus rectum p is given by:

p = 2q
where q is the perihelion point, coming up soon.


Heres the polar equation for the radius position r (distance sun-comet) along its elliptic or parabolic orbit making the angle - the true anomaly - with the semimajor axis:


r = p/(1 + e cos)
or by using the angle E - the eccentric anomaly - which is the angle between the semi-major axis and the imaginary circle in the same vertical level as some point on the elliptic orbit:

r = a(1 e cosE)


Before moving forward to other equations describing orbits, we can give the relation between the two angles E and as follows:

tan(/2) = [(1 + e)/(1 - e)] tan(E/2)


In elliptical orbit we have two foci along the major axis, where the Sun is located at one of the foci. Thus there exist two very important distances along the orbit to the Sun: the perihelion and aphelion point. The distance q from the Sun to the closest point along the elliptic orbit (perihelion point) we have the following expression:

q = a(1 - e)


and the furthest point Q along the orbit to the Sun that is situated being at one of the foci (aphelion point) is given by:

Q = a(1 + e)
A parabola having also a perihelion point q has the following equation:


q = p/2
taken from the rearranged equation 10. The aphelion point Q for a parabolic orbit is at infinity:


Q =


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From the equations 2 and 8, the expression for the orbital speed of the particle along an ellipse can be obtained and it is given by:

v2 = (2/r - 1/a)


where = GM and 1/a, is positive, zero or negative if the orbit is ellipse, parabola or hyperbola respectively. The corresponding equation for a parabola, which has only one focus, is the following:

v2 = 2 r
However, the velocity at the perihelion point for an ellipse is given as:


vp2 = [(1 + e)/(1 - e)] a va2 = [(1 - e)/(1 + e)] a


in the same way at the aphelion point, the equation for the velocity is given by:

By the expression in the brackets of both equations 20 and 21 it is noticeable that the velocity of the particle is maximum at perihelion and minimum at aphelion and varies along its orbit. Now it is possible for us to state Keplers second law of equal areas: The violet-shaded area are all equal to each other if and only if the planet moves from for instance B to C in the same time that it moves from L to A.
Fig. Keplers 2nd law of the areas for an elliptic orbit.

In other words, this law supports also the fact that the planet moves fastest when it is closest to the Sun (ex. at perihelion point) and slowest when it is furthest from the Sun (ex. at aphelion point). Please note that even this law is applied to comets. Johannes Kepler has even a third law, called Keplers third law) that can be applied to the elliptic orbit of a comet. Assuming that we have a circular orbit where the Earth is revolving around the Sun. Since it is assumed that readers already have the basis for the laws of gravity from Physics Course B, this 3rd law will be derived. Since the gravitational force exerted on Earth by the Sun is equal to the central force needed to keep the planet moving along its orbit:

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GMsMp = Mpv2 r2 r
where Mp stands for the mass of a planet. Using the physical equation: one can expand it to: v = r v = 2r/T


where = 2/T

Taking T to be the period of the circular orbit the equation 21 above becomes:

GMs = (2r/T)2 r2 r
and reduces to:


T2 = r3[(42)/(GMs)] = Ksr3
where Ks is a constant given by:


Ks = (42) / (GMs) = 2.97 10-19 s2/m3

The equation 25 is Keplers third law. Note that this law is also valid for elliptical orbits if we replace r by the length of the semi-major axis, a. It has surely been noticed that all the equations of this section are related to elliptic and parabolic orbit. This does not imply that comets traveling along hyperbolic orbits do not exist; instead it simply means they are very rare. This is the reason why formulas for such an orbit were not pointed out. However, you may consult Krishna Swamys book for more information on the equations involving hyperbolic orbits. The Orbital Elements:

The orbit is computed from the brightest point of the cometary coma, which overlaps with the nucleus being some thousands of kilometers apart. The orbit of a comet can be described with the help of seven parameters. The use of these parameters can be compared to the mathematical application of the x, y, z planes, of a graph, in order to position the coordinates of a certain point in threedimensional space. As a result, there are many more specifications (parameters) involved in determining the location of a comet in space, due to its huge surrounding, where the presence of the Sun playing the major focus role, for instance. Here are the seven parameters with their clarification and a descriptive figure: 1) e = eccentricity: An orbital element represents the eccentricity of the elliptical orbit, in other words, the extent to which an elliptical orbit departs from a circular one. It is usually expressed as a decimal fraction.

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An eccentricity of 0 corresponds to a perfect circular orbit and an eccentricity comprised between 0 and 1 has an elliptic orbit, where just less than 1 the eccentricity is an extremely elliptical orbit. A parabolic orbit owns an eccentricity of 1. An eccentricity superior to 1 corresponds to a hyperbolic orbit. Note that the parabolic and hyperbolic orbits are no longer periodic orbits. In other words, when a coming comet reaching its perihelion point - by following any of these two preceding orbits - is observed from the Earth, it will then no longer be seen, since it will continue away along its non-periodical orbit and never ever come back. Mathematically one can even describe the eccentricity as the amount by which the elliptical orbit deviates from circularity: e =c/a, where c, is the distance from the center to a focus and a, is the semimajor axis. 2) a = semi-major axis: The semi-major axis, a, is an orbital element representing half the length of the major axis of an ellipse. 3) i = inclination: The inclination is an orbital element representing the inclination of the celestial corpses (ex. a comets) orbital plane to the ecliptic plane (or a reference plane). 4) = longitude (or argument) of the perihelion: The longitude of the perihelion is an orbital element representing the angle measured along the orbital plane from the ascending node to the perihelion point. 5) = longitude of the ascending node: The longitude of the ascending node is the angle measured from the vernal equinox along the ecliptic plane to the ascending node - the point of intersection of orbital plane with the ecliptic plane. 6) T = epoch: The epoch (or time) is an orbital element representing the time of perihelion passage. 7) P = period: The period is an orbital element representing the time required to complete an orbit.

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Fig. This three-dimensional space figure shows some of the seven orbital elements, such as the argument of perihelion, longitude of the ascending node and inclination

** The records of some of the parameters of the comet Hale-Bopp will be given in chapter 4. **

3.5. The Non-Gravitational Forces

By the use of familiar methods that are based on Newtons gravitational law the orbit of a comet can be calculated. The more observation done for a comet, the more precise the determined orbit will be. Thus it is much easier to obtain a more accurately determined orbit for short-period comets than long-period ones. Once a comet enters inside the solar system its orbit gets usually disturbed by the planets revolving along their orbit. Thanks to the availability of high speed computers scientist can include such perturbations, or other types of complications, in their orbit calculations. However experts have noticed a peculiar thing: that the position of the comet varies after each revolution along its orbit. In other words, the predicted calculations of the future comet position along its orbit are not the same as the observed one. For instance, the short-period comet Encke having a period of 3.3 years continues to come 2.5 hours too soon after each revolution. Besides the comet Encke, it has been observed that nearly half of all the comets studied came earlier than the calculated time while the other half came later than

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the predicted. In other words, this means that half of the observed comets accelerate and the other half decelerate respectively. This lead to the fact that there must be an additional non-gravitational force acting on the comet, which was not included in scientists orbit computation. After observing a comets movement along its orbit it was found that the non-gravitational force diminished significantly with an increase in the distance between the comet and the Sun. The non-gravitational force acting on the comet has an influence on its orbitperiod. However, this fact may still not seem understandable, yet. By physical means, what makes the comet accelerate or decelerate? In order to clarify the influence of the non-gravitational force one has to take the matter ejected from a rotating nucleus. When the solar radiation - from the solar wind - imposes on the nucleus, the material evaporates from the surface and moves out in the direction of the incident radiation. This ends up in a jet event (or jet action), where the comet is pushed away from the Sun by a force. Whenever the nucleus rotates a time delay between the heating and the ejection of the gas from any point on the surface will take place. Now, by taking the orbit comet into consideration the comet can occur sooner or later than the calculated time due to the direction of rotation of the nucleus: Case #1: The orbit-period of the comet will increase whenever the rotation is in the same direction as its motion - i.e. along its orbit - around the Sun; where this is due to the belated jet action which has an advance factor. Therefore the orbit comet will become superior leading to the fact that the comer will appear later than the predicted time, thus decelerating. Case #2: In contrast, if the rotation of the nucleus is in the opposite direction to the motion around the Sun the jet action will have a backward factor and shrink the orbit-period so that the comet occurs earlier than the predicted time, thus accelerating. As a result, nearly half of the existing comets are accelerated and other half decelerated when it is presumed that the axes of rotation of the nucleus are arbitrarily distributed.

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3.6. The Origin & Formation of Comets

3.6.1. Preface As we have seen earlier, comets are corpses having a very small dimension to its surrounding essentially composed of ice where a part of it sublimates when the comet passes by the perihelion point, by forming the coma and the dust and ion tails. At every passage the nucleus loses its dimension by some meter of its exterior layer. Therefore, the periodic comets size shrinks more the more it revolves several hundreds or thousands of times along its orbit near the Sun. This process continues until the comet dies and losses all its matter. This event is called the ablation process. But which comets can hold on longer? First of all, it is compulsory to know that the periodic comets are usually divided into short-period comets (those with periods of less than 200 years) and longperiod comets (those with periods of more than 200 years). Technically, since the diameter of a nucleus is in general measured between one and ten kilometers it cannot survive longer than hundred to three hundred passages, i.e. at most ten thousand years for short-period comets. However it takes one to about ten million years for long-period comets. This process introduces the question of where the comets come from. Thus, comets must have originated from some permanent source that compensates their disappearance and maintains a certain number of activities; otherwise, it would be a long time since there would no longer be any comets left. 3.5.2. The Formation Mechanism In 1950 the Dutch astronomer Jan Hendrick Oort discovered that comets originate from very distant regions, located between 50,000 and 100,000 AU from the Sun, thus outside our solar system. He named this zone the Oort cloud. This spherical cloud contains around 1062 comets, mainly long-period comets. Most of these longperiod comets have a parabolic orbit, thus appearing once.
Fig. Scaled figure showing the Oort cloud enveloping our solar system.

There are also long-period comets having elliptic orbits such as the comet HaleBopp, which will be coming back. Oort showed that the movement of the comets in the Oort cloud was controlled by the gravitational disruptions and induced by the neighboring stars. Some of these disturbances expel comets outside the solar system and others, on the contrary, are

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ejected toward the inside of the solar system so that they can be observed from the earth when they approach the Sun. The Oort cloud is said to be a remainder of the original nebula that failed to form the Sun and the planets for five billion years ago. There are theories stating that the Oort cloud was first formed closer to the Sun and that is got ejected to extremely long heliocentric distances away due to the effect gravitational interactive forces of the giant planets such as Jupiter. This theory implies the spherical shape of the cloud along with the gravitational interactions of the nearby stars. From 1943 to 1949, the American astronomer Gerard Peter Kuiper stated that the comets, owning an analogous chemical composition as the one of the giant planets, could have been formed at some tens of astronomical unities from the Sun, at the level of the orbits of Neptune and Pluto. This zone became called the Kuiper belt. Formed in this belt, comets might have then been ejected by the disruptions of the giant gaseous planets to much more stable orbits at 50,000 AU, thus constituting the Oort cloud. However, comets in this region are short-period ones.
Fig. Scaled figure showing the Kuiper belt both from above and sideways.

In order to confirm this theory scientists are doing research on fossil comets that have not yet been ejected into the Oort cloud. So far only some thirty comets have been identified but this research is still taking place. This formation mechanism of comets explains why the comets give rise to such an interest for professional astronomers, interest that isnt uniquely visual. The comets have passed the biggest part of their life in the Oort cloud, far from the sun with a temperature a few degrees above absolute zero (-273C or 0 K), due to the absence of the solar radiation at such far heliocentric distances. Very little modified during their journey, comets could be true fossils of the solar system, rich with information on the physical conditions that could have been needed for our solar system to form. The analysis on fossil comets can be done thanks to the fact that they havent undergone any chemical modifications at all.

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3.6. The Luminosity of Comets

The classical relation giving the visual (apparent) magnitude of a comet according to the distances to the Sun and the Earth, expressed in AU is:

m = m0 + 5 log() + 2.5n log(r)

Eq. 3.6.1.

where m represents the apparent magnitude and m0 the absolute magnitude properly corresponding to r = = 1 AU and a phase angle of 0. Thus, is the geocentric distance Earth-comet, r is the heliocentric distance and n is the comet activity factor. The 5 log() part of the equation takes the comets variation of brightness with changing Earth-comet distance () into account. This part of the equation holds an inverse-squared relationship, where if the geocentric distance increases by a factor of 3 the brightness will decrease by a factor of 3 and squared, thus 9. The last tem 2.5n log(r), represents the change in brightness due to the variation of the heliocentric distance of the comet. The reflected light from the produced dust and gas (from the coma or the dust tail) and the solar radiation causing the gas to shine, produce a speedily change in brightness with changing heliocentric distance. In other words, the n value defines how rapid this change is. Therefore, it is not possible to find a single value of n that covers the entire range of the heliocentric distance. The value of n varies from before and after the perihelion passage. Scientists have so far concluded that the n-value for new comets is about 2, since their brilliance is quite low when they approach the Sun compared to when they are at farther heliocentric distances by being relatively brighter. Conversely, the n-value of the old comets is comprised between 4 and 6. The term apparent magnitude is employed a lot in astronomy; signifying a scale used by an astronomer to determine the brilliance of a star or any celestial body from Earth. By the term apparent one means the brightness measured in the visible part of the spectrum, in other words, the part one can see with naked eye. The scale of the magnitude is so that each magnitude is about 2.5 times brighter than the newt brighter magnitude. This implies that a variation of 5 magnitude units (ex. from 1 to 6) corresponds to a change in brilliance of 100 times. However astronomers do not round off the determined apparent magnitude values, instead they use the precise ones with decimal values. A bright star like the star Vega has an apparent magnitude of 0. Visual magnitudes higher than the one of the star Vega will turn out to go in negative values. Thus the more negative value the apparent magnitude is the more it is brilliant.

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Thus this leaves us to know that the two major terms are the absolute magnitude and the n-value of the comet, where both determine the intrinsic variation of a comets brilliance.

3.7. Nomenclature of Comets

By tradition a comet is normally named for its (or their) discover(s). This method of designation is used by the International Astronomical Union on its IAU Circulars and in astronomical literatures written by professional scientists. Initially, the prefix C/ is used as a scientific abbreviation for long-period comets, i.e. comets having an orbit-period superior to 200 years. The second possible prefix, P/, is utilized for short-period comets. The two last ones, X/ and D/, are used for comets having an unknown orbit and comets that have disappeared, respectively. Lets take the great comet Hale-Bopp, which will be covered in the next chapter, as an example. The scientific name of this comet is C/1995 O1. As mentioned earlier the prefix C/ designs the fact that this comet is a long-period one. 1 By 1995 it is meant that is was discovered in year 1995. The letter 0 shows that this comet was discovered in the second half-month of July; where A stands for January 1st to 15th, B for January 16th to 31st, C for February 1st to 15th etc... It is important to note that the I is omitted and the Z isnt needed. At last, the number 1 after the letter O implies that this was the first comet to be discovered in the second-half of July. On the road to chapter 4 As a reader, you have learned all the basics needed and even more in order to be able to both understand and analyze any informative article, magazine, book on any given comet. In other words, all the well-known characteristic components of a comet were mentioned. However, as you might already know, a comets activity might not always follow mankinds knowledge, whereas the physical laws are always obeyed by the laws of physics. Thus, some observations can be quite peculiar to scientists although knowing a lot on comets already. Therefore, I have put the amazing facts of the comet Hale-Bopp after this studied chapter.

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4. The Comet Hale-Bopp 4.1. The Discovery

During the night of July 23rd and 24th 1995, two amateurish American astronomers, Alan Hale, in New-Mexico and Thomson Bopp, in Arizona, decided to observe the constellation of Sagittarius. Although they did not know each other, they perceived about at the same time a luminous dot that did not correspond to any known object. At that moment, they transmitted the perceived information to the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams. In less than 12 hours, after the objects first observation, the discovery of Hale-Bopp comet was announced to the scientific community, where it acquired later C/1995 01 as a scientific name. During that night, having a magnitude of around 10.5, the comet Hale-Bopp was already 250 times more brilliant than the famous comet Halley when at an equivalent distance to earth. Moreover, the comet Hale-Bopp was the most distant comet yet discovered - at 7 AU from the Sun. This amazing comet had one of the strongest luminosity of all comets of the 19th century. In addition, it was possible to observe this comet without any difficulty and it did, in deed, astonish astronomers, astrophysiciansand many more by its amazing characteristics.


Showing the comet HaleBopp with the two lines, taken on July 24, 1995.

4.2. The Magnitude

The first time that one could observe the comet Hale-Bopp with naked eye was May 20 1996, with a magnitude of 6.7. The comet H-B was visible for a period of more than 17 and a half month, till October-December 1997, which beat the record of all the other comets by their visibility. On April 1997, at the perihelion date, Hale-Bopp had -1.5 as magnitude, which indicates that the comet was as clear as the planet Jupiter! The Hubble Space Telescope determined that in the year 2020, the comet H-B will have a magnitude of 30, i.e. it will be 1.5 billion times weaker than what the naked eye can see. However in average, the comet Hale-Bopp had a maximal brilliance of -0.4 to -1.2 in clear sky and -0.8 in dark sky.

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Heres a list of the top ten brightest comets recorded of the past three centuries in comparison to the comet Hale-Bopp:
1729 1577 1997 1747 1811 1744 1882 1914 1433 1962 Comet Sarabat Comet Tycho Comet Hale-Bopp Comet De Cheseaux Comet Flaugergues Comet De Cheseaux Comet Cruls Comet Delavan Great Comet Comet Humason -3.0 -1.8 -1.3 -0.5 0.0 +0.5 +0.8 +1.1 +1.2 +1.35

As a result, one can notice that the Comet Hale-Bopp is the brightest comet ever recorded of the 19th century and the third brightest one of the last three centuries. This graph, called a Light Curve, points up the magnitude observed from September 1995 to September 1997. Observe that the vertical violet line shows the perihelion passage on April 1, 1997, where the magnitude was -1.3.

Fig.4.2.1. A Light Curve illustrating the magnitude of the Comet Hale-Bopp, where the black curve indicates the average magnitude obtained from September 1995 to September 1997.

Fig.4.2.2.: Consult the figure of the section 4.4.3. in order to see an example of how bright the magnitude of the comet Hale-Bopp can reach.

4.3. The Molecular Composition

It is very important to know the composition of the comets and especially the comet Hale-Bopps, since comets come from much removed regions (about 50,000 AU) where a temperature close to absolute zero prevails. Comets, which

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have not undergone any chemical transformation and the chemical analysis of their nucleus, inform us on the composition of the primitive interstellar cloud. The activity of a comet increases when it approaches the sun and depends on the nature of the nucleus. Far from the sun, one expects that the types that are most volatile (those of which the transition temperature of the solid state to the gaseous is the lowest) are sublimated first, and being therefore more abundant in the coma. This was actually what was observed in the comet Hale-Bopp by a team of French and English astronomer, to the assistance of the Nanay Decimetric Radio Telescope (NRT) and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), where beyond 4 AU, the coma was dominated by more volatile species than water (presence of mostly carbon monoxide (CO) that sublimated at 24 K (-249 C) and water that sublimated in vacuum at 200 K). The maximal water production rate was astonishingly 250,000 kg/s, taking in mind that it was about 10 times higher than the famous comet Halley, being at its most active state. 2 Carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) are two very volatile molecules, which are effectively overabundant at 4 AU, just as the toxic hydrocyanide (HCN). But two other molecules, such as methylcyanide (CH3CN) and methanol (CH3OH), which have nevertheless the same sublimation point as the HCN, are present in a normal amount. Thus, these observations give evidence of the complexity of the chemical processes that are taking place in the heart of the nucleus. Closer to the sun (at 1 AU), the group of twenty molecules, already recognized in earlier comets spectrum have all been identified in the spectrum of the comet Hale-Bopp. Seven new molecules were for the first time made obvious: sulfur monoxide (SO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), formic acid (HCOOH), acetic acid methyl formate - (CH3COOH), nitrogen sulfide (NS), formamide NH2CHO and cyanoacetylene (HC3N). Other astromolecules, such as OCS, H2CS and isocyanic acid, HNCO having different rotational transitions occurred for the second time, i.e. they were first identified, a year earlier, in comet Hyakutake. Furthermore, the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) detected the presence of crystalline olivine (Mg2SiO4), rich with magnesium, in the spectrum of the comet Hale-Bopps dust tail.

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Fig.4.3.1. Image showing the distribution of the HCN in the coma, taken by the JCM telescope on April 1996.

The picture to the left shows the ejection of the parent molecule, hydrogen cyanide (HCN) from the inner coma of the comet Hale-Bopp taken by the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) on April 1996. The idea behind the use of the x and y axis, which arent well seen here, is to show the extraordinary 100,000 km wide region of HCN gas streams that having a speed of at least 1km/s.

When the comet Hale-Bopp approaches the sun the solar radiation heats up the parent molecules that absorb this solar energy (photons) and gets transformed to daughter molecules. The hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is a perfect example where this parent molecule gets dissociated to the two following ionic daughter molecules: cyanogen (CN) and the element hydrogen (H). The spectrum of the coma of the comet Hale-Bopp identifies the strongest molecular emission characteristics. From the wavelengths below 4000 to over 5000 angstroms the species cyanogen (CN) and molecular carbon (C2) are noticeable in the coma of the comet, thus in the visible wavelength region of the spectrum
Fig.4.3.2. Figure showing the spectrum of the coma of the comet Hale-Bopp within 20 arcsec of the nucleus taken on April 13, 1997 with the Steward Observatory 2.3-m telescope and CCD cassegrain spectrograph.

The sodium (NaI) emission line around the wavelength 5800 angstroms is linked to the sodium tail that G. Cremonese along with the European Hale-Bopp team reported on April 18, 1997. More on the sodium tail will be covered in section 4.7.

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For more information on the spectrum detection of other molecules in the comet Hale-Bopp you may consult the following website:

Fig.4.3.3-4-5. The two photos above are obtained by ultraviolettechnique imaging, allowing different molecules appear by using the POLAR satellite imaging system, while the comet was near its perihelion point. The last photo to the left reveals another molecule by filtertechnique.

These photos taken by the POLAR satellite lets different molecules appear. Clockwise from top to bottom: the image to the left shows the atomic carbon, at a wavelength of 165.7 nm on its spectrum scale; where the coma is the dark-blue color around the yellow zone in the middle. The next photo to the right shows a weaker concentration of carbon monoxide with a wavelength of 156 nm. The four dots on the photo around the comet illustrate four different ultraviolet stars. As a result, one can notice that the comet is amazingly brighter than the four stars surrounding it! The filtered photo below shows a concentration of hydroxide ion (or radical) at a wavelength range of 308.5 nm. Thanks to the scale used, one can measure the extent of the coma, the yellow zone in the middle, to about 3 millions kilometers; which is enormous compared to the 40 km dimension of the nucleus. Without the energy from the solar wind hydroxide radicals would not exist, since they are derived from water that absorbs photons and dissociates to both hydroxide and hydrogen ion.

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The diagram to the left demonstrates the amount of gas released by the nucleus of the comet Hale-Bopp as a function of the heliocentric distance from radio observations at the IRAM, JCMT, CSO, SEST and Nanay telescopes. Note that the left side of the diagram represents the preperihelion facts and the right side the post-perihelion facts, where the decreasing heliocentric distance makes the gas production increase. By performing these observations scientists can extract valuable information in the physical state of the icy nucleus containing these chemical compositions along with their interior model.
Fig.4.3.6. A graph illustrating the gas production curve of the main molecules found in the comet Hale-Bopp as a function of heliocentric distance, by the use of radio observations.

The list below gives most of the molecules in the comet Hale-Bopp detected in radio signal (R), infrared (IR), visible (V), and ultraviolet (UV) technique:

Molecules already detected

Molecular Detection Formula method H2O IR R, IR, OHUV H2O+ V HDO R R, IR, CO UV CO2 IR Nomenclature Water Hydroxide Ionized water Deuterated water Carbon monoxide Carbon dioxide Molecular Detection Formula method CH3OH R, IR H2CO HCOOH CH3OCHO HCN CH3CN R R R R, IR R Nomenclature Methanol Formaldehyde Formic acid Acetic acid Hydrogen cyanide Methyl cyanide

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Carbon monoxide cation Formyl cation Hydrogen sulfide sulfur monoxide sulfur dioxide Carbonyl sulfide Carbon monosulfide Thioformaldehyde Ethane Carbon trimer Carbon dimer



Cyanoacetylene Isocyanic acid Cyanogen radical Ammonia Amide ion ? Methane Acetylene Potassium Ionized oxygen Sodium

Unusual Isotopes
Molecular Formula H13CN H15CN 34 CS Detection method R R R Nomenclature Hydrogen cyanide acid Hydrogen cyanide acid Carbon sulfide

Table.4.3.7. A table showing most of the species chemical formulas, nomenclatures and detection methods, detected in the comet Hale-Bopp.

In addition to the interesting facts of the numerous detected species, did you know that the comet Hale-Bopp releases a mass equivalent to more than 5.5 billion cars a day? 3 And this is only a matter of the ejection of the carbon monoxide (CO), regardless of the other species released by the comet! As mentioned earlier, long-period comets are created in the Oort cloud. However according to NASA, the comet Hale-Bopp may have been transformed in the region between Jupiter and Neptune. This theory is based on the massive quantity of carbon monoxide found in the comet Hale-Bopp. Dr. Michael DiSanti of Catholic University and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center stated the following: we would have seen even more carbon monoxide emission from Hale-Bopp. The amount of carbon monoxide ice compared to water (12 percent) indicates that these comets formed somewhere between the orbits of Jupiter and Neptune 4 Even the presence of the noble gas, argon, was revealed by scientists on June 5, 2000, on the fact that the comet Hale-Bopp may had been formed in our solar
3 4

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system near Neptune. This work was lead by Alan Stern, leader of a team of researchers and announced the discovery of the argon at the American Astronomical Societys meeting in Rochester, New York. 5 It is good to know that noble gases do not interact with other chemical species, since they already are stable molecules having an octet (eight valence electrons). The argon, a noble gas, in ice-state found in the comet Hale-Bopp can reveal a lot of information on the life of a comet, such as the temperature variations it had experienced during its lifetime, thus where in the universe it might have been located. Note that the reason why the argon was identified at the solid state in space was due to the fact that its melting point is about above 35 K (or -238 C). Other theories pointed out by other scientists suggested that the comet Hale-Bopp may have been transformed near Jupiter. However this is not possible since the temperature in the Jupiter region is above 35K, thus forcing the argon of the comet Hale-Bopp to melt.

4.4. The Nucleus & the Coma 4.4.1. Diameter of the Nucleus
When the comet Hale-Bopp used to get too far from earth it did not become possible to examine its nucleus by radar. The luminosity of the comet is not always linked to the diameter of the nucleus since its only a part of the nucleus that is active. For example, it is possible that the comet has a small nucleus with a large part of its area releasing gas and dust. It is also probable that the comet with a large nucleus has only a small segment that is active. Consequently, there is no way for scientists to determine the size of the nucleus by this manner. The latest estimations of the nucleus were carried out on the basis of the observation of the amount of material ejected by the nucleus. Hence, the American astronomer Harold Weaver and the French astronomer Philippe Lamy determined the diameter of the nucleus of Hale-Bopp in the range of 40 to 80 km by using seven different method measurements. They concluded that the diameter could still lie above 80 kilometers due to the possibility that the nucleus might be elongated, since a nucleus is in theory as seen an irregular corps. 6 Besides the size the nucleus has an amazing density of only 0.5 g/cm3, thus half of ices.

5 6

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The nucleus does small Hale-Bopps: In close-up, one sees the nucleus (below to the right) in process of emitting a piece of the crust that seems bigger than the nucleus itself, where it is broken into a brilliant cloud of particles.
Fig. This picture illustrating the nucleus dividing itself is taken by the Hubble Space Telescope on September 26th 1995.

Quite it!?



4.4.2. Gas Emissions from the Nucleus

Fig. Two images showing the comas evolution: the first shown by a filter -technique and the lower one showing the corresponding rotational gradients.

These two image sequences show the evolution of the coma in a three day period. The first sequence reassembles three images obtained by a telescope behind a filter on May 7, 8 and 9 year 1997. On the second sequence presents the corresponding rotational gradients. On May 8 at 19h44, an enormous

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concentration of dust is released from the nucleus. Twenty-four hours later, the dust is elongated over 50,000 kilometers behind the nucleus. A fact is that this dust ejection does not occur at every nucleus rotation. Thats why scientists consider this certainly as a unique phenomenon. The next image shows the processing of a rotational gradient, which brings at least 10 jets to the fore.

Fig. This illustration of the processing of a rotational gradient is taken in the beginning of the month of February 1997.

Anim. View the animation that shows the movement of the jets. This can be seen in the PowerPoint presentation.

4.4.3. Rotation of the Nucleus

When the rotational axis is parallel to the line aimed by the observer one can detect spirals around the nucleus. This occurs since the jets of dust and gas that return periodically from the active side (face to the sun) of the comet form successive layers of dust. Thanks to this phenomenon astrophysicians could determine the periodical rotation of the nucleus of comet Hale-Bopp to 11.34 0.03 hours. Treated by the technique of the fuzzy mask, this picture shows the complex structure that the coma represented on February 7th 1997 at 5.30 h. Eight to nine envelopes surround the nucleus according to a parabolic form locally disrupted by the powerful jets of dust. These envelopes are separated by a distance of around 300 kilometers.

Fig. The comas composite structure shown on February 7, 1997.

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This image indicates the abnormal size of the coma of comet Hale-Bopp. The large luminous part that is shown in the middle of the picture is not below 1.1 million kilometers wide or in other words about 10 times larger than Saturn.

This picture was taken by the New Technology telescope (NTT) at La Silla, in Chile.
Fig. An image showing the size of the coma, taken in the summer of 1999.

4.5. The Dust Tail

Whats so special to the dust tail besides the interesting physical analysis done on the dust tail in the previous chapter? Well, the temperature of the dust particles is an important factor. Observations on the dust cloud by the ISOs photometer (ISOPHOT) showed that the temperature of the dust cloud zone, being at a heliocentric distance of 700 millions km, increased from a temperature of -120 C to -50 C, being 420 million km away from the Sun. This amazing temperature variation was from March 1996 to October 1996.

Fig.4.5.2. This filtered picture, taken on Mars 16, 1997, illustrating the streaked structure of the dust tail.

This observation shows how the dust particles in the immense dust cloud are sensible to the solar radiation, which provides them energy in form of photons; leading them to warm up quickly and but also emit the solar light to the surrounding, i.e. to the Earth. That is the reason why the color of the dust tail appears as yellowish.

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Another observation showed that the maximal dust production is about 400,000 kg/s, meaning that the comet Hale-Bopp lost only 0.1 % of its mass while traveling through our solar system. 7

4.6. The Ion Tail

This periodic extension of images, filtered in order to let the plasma tail come into view, shows to what extent the structure can be changed in extremely short delays.

Fig.4.6.2. This image showing the visibility of the ion tail in a three day period is taken by the OHP Schmidt telescope.

The speed of the ions is such that only some tens of minutes suffice to perceive variations.

4.7. The Sodium Tail

The tail of neutral sodium atoms (Na), discovered by the Gariele Cremonese and his European co-workers in the observatory of the Canary Islands, was added to the list of the important characteristics of comet. The reason was because it had never ever been found in earlier brilliant comets, except for during a few hours of slight rubbing the sun by some comets. However this occurs due to the extremely high temperature conditions, which the comet Hale-Bopp hasnt experienced. Since the sodium atoms arent ionized (i.e. ionized to Na+ for instance), they can only be distinguished by a special filter or another optic apparatus.

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Fig.4.7.1. A filtered picture produced by the POLAR satellite.

The presence of a sodium tail was then confirmed on March 31st 1997 by NASAs POLAR satellite. This new tail is about 800,000 km wide and at least 50 million kilometers long, corresponding to a tail much more restricted and straighter than a dust tail, which tends to be more unraveled and often bent. A neutral sodium tail is straight like a plasma tail, however not always directed in the same direction in space. One has to notice that the position of this sodium tail and its luminosity spectrum emitted far from the nucleus is very different from the normal tails of comet. This implies that the source is not necessarily on the nucleus but is instead extended.

The discovery of the sodium tail of the comet Hale-Bopp is shown by the picture to the left, taken on April 16th 1997. The tail seems like a straight and very narrow stretch, extending itself from the coma of the
Fig.4.7.2. Two filter pictures showing the discovery of the sodium tail.

comet to the higher left corner. The image to the right shows both the ion and the dust tail taken a few minutes before the discovery of the sodium tail. Note that the dust tail is the wide tail pointing vertically upwards, whereas the ion tail is the other unraveled structure to the left. The comparison of these two pictures indicates how the sodium tail has a wholly different appearance from other tails.

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The sodium tail was detected by the Pic du Midi Observatory-team on April 29 and May 1, 1997. During that last night the members of this team tried to observe the different characteristics of the tails of the comet Hale-Bopp. On the 29th, the team members observed with the use of sodium filter that let the emission of the sodium tail to appear.
Fig.4.7.3. Images obtained with a CCD camera and a Pentax photographic object showing all the types of tails, including the new sodium tail was taken on April 29, 1997.

They used also two other filters in order to perceive the ions H2O+ and CO+: a H2O+ filter (positioned at a wavelength of 701 nm) and a CO+ filter (set at a wavelength of 684 nm). However the aim of this observation was to compare the anatomy of the different tails found. One can already notice that the pictures showing the CO+- and H2O+ filter are identical even though their movement in space differs. The last image to the upper left shows the typical dust tail detected with the continuum filter-technique. Anim.4.7.4.: This animation, shown in a PowerPoint presentation, will be demonstrating the four filtered images shown above. An interesting fact is to have noticed is that the sodium tail is positioned between the ion and the dust tail, instead of being to the left of the ion tail. However, scientists do not really know, yet, why the sodium tail is located between both remaining tails. Three different tails have been studied so far. As shown on earlier ordinary color photographs, the ion tail looks bluish and the dust tail yellowish. On the other hand, the new discovered sodium tail can only be distinguished with special filters or other optical apparatus.

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4.8. The Orbital Elements

Now that the orbital elements are more reasonable to understand than they were before reading the unit 3.4.5. we can move on and use the knowledge we have on the great comet Hale-Bopp. As mentioned earlier, the comet Hale-Bopp is a long-period comet, however its periodical orbit has been modified during the time due to the non-gravitational forces arising from the jet force effect and the gravitational attraction by the major planets. In the beginning, Hale-Bopp had a very large elliptic orbit traveling at extremely far heliocentric distances from the Sun; hence, making it impossible for mankind to observe it from the Earth. According to the orbit calculations done by astronomers, in the year 2,000 B.C. the comet Hale-Bopp passed near Jupiter and gained a smaller orbit to about 4,200 years making it visible near the closest distance to the Sun (perihelion point). The comet passed by the Sun again in 1997, where Jupiter (at only 0.77 AU from the comet in April 1996) reduced again its orbit-period; thus making Hale-Bopps orbit become around 2380 years. The facts below show the data after the progressive change of the orbit of the comet Hale-Bopp due to the effect of the planetary attractions on the comet (mainly Jupiter) and the effect of the non-gravitational forces: The last visit of the comet Hale-Bopp: The future visit of the comet: The speed of the comet at its perihelion: The speed of the comet at its aphelion: Perihelion time of the comet: Perihelion distance from the Sun: Closest approach to the Earth: 2,000 B.C. late 44th century 44 km/s 0.129 km/s April 1, 1997 0.914 AU = 137 million km 1.315 AU = 197 million km

Heres a comparison of the orbital elements of the comet Hale-Bopp, the Great comet of 1811 and the comet Hyakutake. Comet
1811 I C/1996 B2 C/1995 01

Perihelion Date
1811 09 12.756 1996 05 01.396 1997 04 01.146

Period (in years)

3065 29.27 2380

Perihelion (in AU)

1.035 0.23 0.914


Inclination (C)

Argument of Perihelion (C)


Ascending Node (C)




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0.999 0.995

124.9 89.4

130.2 130.591

187.3 282.471

Table.4.8.1. Table showing the difference in orbital element between three very famous comets of the past two centuries.

This table shows that the comet Hale-Bopp has nearly the same heliocentric distance as the Great comet of 1811 and the same eccentricity, thus having both strongly elliptical orbits. Moreover, the comet Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake both have almost identical argument of perihelion, meaning that they had the same orientation of the orbit in their own plane, whereas they had completely different ascending node. As studied earlier in section 3.1., comets cannot reach the earths ground. At first, entering in the Earths atmosphere, they become meteoroids (debris) until when they hit the ground, becoming known as meteorites. But have this actually ever occurred on a planet such as Earth? Well, it has occurred on the planet Jupiter by 21 fragments (debris) of the comet Levy-Shoemaker between July 16 and July 22, 1994. 8 As said earlier, the comet Hale-Bopp passed in 2,000 B.C. through the solar system perpendicular to the Earths and Jupiters orbital plane. There is a very interesting theory involving the Biblical Sodom/Gomorrah catastrophe dated 2,066 B.C. which might have been caused by cometary fragments of Hale-Bopp. The reason why this theory could be true is that both the historical dates coincide, which might explain the origin of the Three Craters in Israel. There are numerous facts supporting this theory. For more information on this exceptional theory consult the following internet site indicated by the following footnote. 9

8 9

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5. Conclusion
Finally, as a review, all the celestial corpses, including the comet, which people have the propensity to confound, were briefly explained. This was followed by the comprehensive explanation on the anatomy morphology of any given comet, where all its components were pointed out. By the use of all these clarified cometary parts the chemical abundance of comets was mentioned, where it was shown to us how and why the daughter molecules result from the presence of the parent molecules. Later came the central aspect of this subject, the mathematical and physical applications of comets, which was one of the main two objectives of this report. The aim of this aspect was to fulfill the comprehension of the nucleus, dust and ion tails activity by physical means, rather than by theoretical way, which does not respond to all our questions. Before going into the orbits of comet it was compulsory to explain all the mathematical models of the existing cometary orbits: ellipse, hyperbola and parabola. By using the knowledge of the characteristics of these orbits readers were able to understand the physical view of the orbits of comets and the non-gravitational forces resulting in cometary orbit variations. The next section the origin and formation of comets - involved the ablation process that covered the loss of material, thus the gradually dieing of the comet followed by the differences between the short-period and long-period comets. Combining these facts, the presence of the two cometary reservoirs, the Oort cloud and the Kuiper belt were mentioned leading us to the understanding of why scientists study the formation mechanism of the comets. The luminosity of comets where the terms absolute and apparent magnitude were mentioned explicated the given equation on the brilliancy of a comet. The last unit of the chapter of comets in general included the explanation of how scientists give scientific names to any observed comet, such as the comet Hale-Bopp. This report followed by the second astonishing chapter that included the comet Hale-Bopp. It was informed to us on the discovery of the comet Hale-Bopp at an amazing far heliocentric distance of 7 AU having a magnitude of 250 times brighter than the comet Halley comet at the same distance; without taking in mind the fact that Hale-Bopp was the furthest comet yet to be discovered at a magnitude of 6.7! Therefore, this comet was, again, extremely brilliant. In addition, it could be seen with naked-eye during a period of at least 17 months, which beating all other comets by its brightness. By combining the facts read from the entire report but especially from the unit 3.3., readers were able to understand the chemical composition of the comet HaleBopp, where a total of seven new chemical species were detected regardless of the identification of more than 40 other chemical molecules. Information on the diameter of the nucleus of the comet Hale-Bopp as well as its rotation and jet-activity were revealed; followed by the unusual evolution of the

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coma in a three day period. The dust tail was shown to get a huge temperature variation from being at two different measured heliocentric distances, giving rise to the yellowish color it possesses. The dust tail maximum dust production (400 tons/s) was also another remarkable fact. This was followed by how the ion tail was detected by astronomers. However, the most amazing characteristic of this comet was its possession of an entirely new tail: the sodium tail, where its method of detection was also mentioned. Finally, the very last unit - orbital elements showed the evolution (variation with time) of the orbit of the comet Hale-Bopp due to the planetary attractions and the non-gravitational forces being present; followed by a comparison of three famous comets orbital elements including Hale-Bopps. Finally, it was been show that we were able to see that the cometary subject of our fact is exceptional since they presented uniqueness in the world of astronomy. Indeed, the comet Hale-Bopp is differed by the observation of other comets by its third tail, the sodium tail, by its magnitude, which was actually extraordinary and by its new detected chemical species. Furthermore, thanks to the scientific progress of the past 10 years, the facts were more accurate and at the same time less questionable, which made of the whole much more interesting. Hence, HaleBopp merits without dispute the title of the great comet, by being added to the seven other specimens observed in the 19th century and to the some 74 others registered since the third century before Christ. We advanced in a matter where we have progressively learned more and more; which is one of the reasons why our subject captivated us. However, comets remain very mysterious and preserve much more secret; indeed, we were only able to put forward models that explained the different observed phenomenon. It is on account of the real taste of the research (such as physical computations) and the discovery that we have been able to learn more and more on comets, but most of all, on the great comet Hale-Bopp.

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6. Glossary
Absolute zero:

The absolute zero is state of temperature at -273.15 C or 1 K, where all molecular movements stop. Albedo:

Albedo is the fraction of the incident light that is reflected by a surface (here the nucleus). Thus, this means that an albedo of zero reflects no light, whereas an albedo of 1 reflects 100% of the incident light. Angstroms:

The unit angstrom is equal to one hundred-millionth of a centimeter, or 1 10-10 m. The name of this unit of measure is named by the Swedish physicist Anders J. ngstrm. Aphelion:

For celestial corps revolving along a periodic orbit around the Sun, the aphelion is the point (distance and time) along its orbit that is farthest from the Sun. Arcsec:

Theoretically, an arcsec is a term meaning the 1/3600 of a degree or the 1/60 of an arcmin, where an arcmin represents 1/60 of a degree. This unit of measurement (arcsec) is used to determine the diameter of the coma and the length of the cometary tail. AU:

AU is an abbreviation that stands for astronomical unit, which is equal to the average distance from the Earth to the Sun, thus about 150 millions km. Constellation of Sagittarius:

It is a group of neighboring stars on the celestial sphere that represents a usual determined figure, which one names as the constellation of Sagittarius. Fluorescence:

A property that some objects have to absorb a radiation (visible or invisible) and then to emit it with a longer wavelength (= shorter frequency).

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Geocentric means Earth-centered, meaning that everything revolves around the Earth, which is false of course. Geocentric distance however means the distance from an object to the Earth. Halo

A halo is a brilliant ring that surrounds the Sun or the Moon, which can be sometimes seen. Heliocentric:

A heliocentric system is characterized by the fact that the Sun is in the center of a system. By heliocentric distance means the distance from an object to the Sun. Interstellar cloud:

The interstellar cloud is the common name given to the accumulation of gas and dust in our galaxy (= huge group of stars and other celestial bodies bound together by gravitational forces). Locus:

A locus is the sequence of individual points in space and time, where each one has both a three-dimensional position and time coordinate. Perihelion:

For celestial corps revolving along a periodic orbit around the Sun, the aphelion is the point (distance and time) along its orbit that is closest from the Sun. Plasma:

Plasma is one of the four physical transition states conducting electrical currents. It is an extremely hot gas that is composed of free-floating ions, such as electrons and protons. One estimate that around 99% of the material of the universe is in the form of plasma. Solar wind:

The solar wind is the continuous stream of ions (primarily hydrogen and helium). In other words, it is the flux of electrically charged particles permanently emitted by the Sun.

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Spectrum is the band of colors that white light is composed of, where in the order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Thus, meaning from long to short wavelength, or in other words from short to long frequency. Sublimation:

Sublimation is the direct change of state from ice to water vapor or water vapor to ice. Vacuum:

Vacuum is the space with no or very little gas pressure.

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7. Bibliography
Book reference:

Krishna, Swamy. Physics of Comets, Singapore, World Scientific, 1986, 273 pages. Serway, Raymond A. Physics for Scientists and Engineers, New York, College Publishing, 1996, Volume I, fourth edition, 645 pages. Dr.Herbner, Walter F. Physics and Chemistry of Comets, Germany, Astronomy and Astrophysics Library, 1990, 373 pages. Leithold, Louis. Before Calculus, functions, graphs, and analytic geometry, New York, HarperCollinsPublishers, 1989, second edition, 670 pages. Stewart, James. Calculus: Concepts and Contexts single variable, California, Brooks/Cole Thomson Learning, 2001, second edition, 645 pages. Solomons, T.W.Graham. Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry, Florida, John Wiley & Sons, 1997, fifth edition, 1068 pages. Internet reference:

J. Fox, Nicky. Polar comet Hale-Bopp news release. URL address: J. Fox, Nicky & Sigwarth, John B. Comet Hale-Bopps into the Polar Satellite Field-of-view. URL address: Williams, David R. Comet Hale-Bopp. URL address: Pruitt, Jim. What is an angstrom?. URL address: [No author, by the European Southern Observatory].How Impressive Will Comet Hale-Bopp Become in 1997?. URL address: URL address: URL address: URL address: URL address:

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URL address: URL address: Marinova, Parvoleta & Radeva, Veselka. Project: Hale-Bopp. URL address: URL address: URL address: [No author, by the Infrared Space Observatory]. ISOs analysis of Comet HaleBopp. URL address: [No author, by Tuft University]. 12. Comets. URL address: Steigerwald, Bill. Hale-Bopp Fails Emission Tests but Reveals Comet Origin. URL address: [No author, by the University of Texas McDonald Observatory].Glossary. URL address: Bockele-Morvan, Dominique & Crovisier, Jacques New molecules in comet Hale-Bopp plead for an interstellar origin of the cometary ices. URL address: Crovisier, Jacques. Les noms des comtes. URL address: Jones, James. 8.1 - Conics. URL address: Budd, Chris & Sangwin, Chris. 101 uses of a quadratic equation. URL address: Baalke, Ron. Overview of comet Hale-Bopp conference. URL address: l Ilovaisky, S.A.Images OHP de Hale-Bopp. URL address: Lardire, Olivier. Observations de la comte Hale-Bopp au 80cm OHP. URL address:

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Weaver, H.A., Feldman, P.D. & NASA. Hubble sees Material Ejected from Comet Hale-Bopp. URL address: Colas, Franois. Comet Hale-Bopp images obtained with 200,105 and 5 cm telescopes at Pic du Midi Observatory. URL address: Woon, De. Cometary molecules. URL address: [No author, by Geospace Herault]. Comets page 2. URL address: Combes, Michel-Alain. Les comtes. URL address: Odenwald, Sten. Can a comet be larger than the Sun. URL address: Stevenson, Chris & McCausland, Phil. Uncovering Details Hale-Bopp. URL address: Sitko, Michael L. Comets - II. URL address: Kolena, John. The origin of comets: Kuiper belt of Oort cloud? URL address: Clark, Greg. Hale-Bopp may have formed near Neptune. URL address: Matthews, Henry, Senay Matt & Jewitt David. Hale-Bopp: Hydrogen cyanide. URL address: The cometary tail. URL address: Physical properties of comets. URL address: [NO author, by RCBrill]. Eccentricity. URL address: Heyd, Rod. Comet Hale-Bopp Spectra. URL address: Crystal, Ellie. Comets. URL address:

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Carlin, Dave. Comets. URL address: [No author, by Earth Science Australia]. Comets. URL address: Larson, Ana M. Comets. URL address: Meech, Karen. 1997 apparition of comet Hale-Bopp discovery of Comet HaleBopp. URL address: Helbert, Jrn. Comet Hale-Bopp. URL address: Smith, Tony. Hale-Bopp was formed between Jupiter and Neptune about 4 billion years ago, and then ejected into the Oort Cloud. URL address: [No author, by Santa Monica College]. Lecture 5 summary (Mon 9/15). URL address: Mndez, Javier. Latest news on comet Hale-Bopp. URL address: Comet Hale-Bopp: First ever images of a neural gas tail. URL address: Kronk W., Gary. Comets & Meteor Showers: Education Corner. URL address: Stathopoulos, Vic. What is the difference between an asteroid, comet, meteoroid, meteor and meteorite?. URL address: Amador, Amando G. & Diego V. Anatomy of comets. URL address: [No author, by the University of Miami]. Earth Origins. URL address: Zufferey, J. Les comtes. URL address: [No author, by the Monterey Institute for Research in Astronomy]. Introduction to the history of comets. URL address: Introduction to the History of Comets. [No author, by Nationmaster]. Moctezuma II.

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URL address: Orbital elements. URL address: Oort cloud. URL address: Crenson, Matt. Hale-Bopp a comet to remember. URL address: [No author, News]. Neptunes Noble comets. URL address: Schaaf, Fred. Get ready for Comet Hale-Bopp. URL address: or_Comet_Hale_Bopp_ Curry, Roger & Knighton, David. Comet 1995 01 (Hale-Bopp). URL address: Green, W.E. Daniel. Press information sheet: Comet C/1995 01 (Hale-Bopp). URL address: Sipe, Russell. Comet Pictures and Movies. URL address: Feature article: Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake Compared by Alan Hale. URL address: Comet Hale-Bopp Facts and Faq. URL address: Steidel, Jonathan B. Conic section parametrization. URL address: Pankowski, Karol. C. URL address: Fix, John D. Keplers second law-the law of equal areas. URL address: W. Kronk, Gary. C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp) Great Comet of 1997. URL address: Kronk W., Gary, Definitions: measures. URL address: [No author, by answers encyclopedia ].Interstellar cloud. URL address: Parabola. URL address:

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[No author, by Wikipedia encyclopedia]. Nitrogen. URL address: Ellipse. URL address: Kepler laws of planetary motion. URL address: [No author, University of California]. [No title]. URL address: s.html [No author, by University of Wisconsin]. Comet Palaver. URL address: [No author, by Astrophysics at UW-Madison Department of Physics]. Kuiper belt, Oort cloud and Comets Preview. URL address: [No author]. Comets have several distinct parts. URL address: [No author]. Glossary of astronomical terms. URL address: Ting Kun, Leng, SC, Chan & Aik Khim, Tan. Keplers law. URL address:'s_laws.htm Weisstein, Eric W. Oort cloud. URL address: Kuiper belt. URL address: [No author, by the Lunar and Planetary Institute]. About comets. URL address: Myer, Walter. The Oort Cloud. URL address: Thompson, Tim. Is the Earth Young. URL address: Mukhopadhyay, Sujoy. Comets. URL address: Sagnotti, Vincenzo. Is it true that new planets have been observed in our Solar System?. URL address:

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Paradowski, Mieczyslaw. Comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 01). URL address: Loy, Jim. Conic sections. URL address: [103 authors]. Ellipse. URL address: Berman, Jennifer. Keplers 1st Law: Orbits are Elliptical. URL address: h Redding, Mark W.J. C/1995 01, Hale-Bopp. URL address: Sanctuary, George. Three craters in Israel. URL address: Javaux, Gilbert. Les comtes. URL address: Ward, Sewell. Comet Shoemaker-Levy. URL address: [No author]. The comet Hale-Bopp examined further. URL address: [No author, by the POSC Company]. Definitions. URL address:


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