CAOSP abstracts, Volume: 33, No.: 1, year: 2003

Abstract: The nuclear effective radii of both short-period (practically identical to the Jupiter-family) and long-period comets, as have been determined by many independent authors using several methods, are summarized. Despite the observational selection effects, it is possible to conclude that the observed nuclei of long-period (LP) comets are generally larger than their short-period (SP) counterparts. The average radius of SP-comet (LP-comet) nucleus is 2.3 km (8.9 km). The corresponding average mass of the nucleus is 2 × 1014 . ρ/ρ5 kg (1 × 1016 . ρ/ρ5 kg), where ρ is the mean density of cometary nucleus and ρ5 = 500 kg m-3. Because of the determination uncertainty, the average radius can be a value from interval ranging from 2.1 to 2.7 km (from 7.4 to 9.2 km). The median radius of SP comets is less than about 2 km, whilst that of LP comets is larger than about 4 km. The slope index of cumulative distribution of the observed radii is rather uncertain due to very low-numerous samples of data available. It is probably a value ranging from 2.67 to 3.05 for SP comets and from 1.59 to 2.21 for LP comets.

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Last update: March 07, 2003