A spectrophotometric survey of comets and earth-approaching asteroids
AuthorHicks, Michael David
KeywordsPhysics, Astronomy and Astrophysics.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn this dissertation the results of a ten-year spectrophotometric survey of comets are presented. By measuring in a systematic way the production rates of C₂ NH₂, CN, and H₂O released from the nucleus, we sought to explore comet-to-comet variations that may yield clues to conditions in the early solar nebula. We classify our observed comets into four taxonomic classes (Type I, II, III, IV). The two classes which comprise the great majority of our sample (Type I and II) were also discerned in the recent survey by A'Hearn et al. (1996) and in general can be thought of as "normal" and "C₂ depleted" comets. It is argued that the "normal" comets in general originate in the inner comet forming regions at the distances of Uranus and Neptune whereas the "C₂ depleted" may originate in the inner edge of the Kuiper disk. Evolved from our interest in extinct cometary candidates, we present the results of out near-Earth asteroid spectroscopy survey. Though taken at a wavelength range that makes firm classification difficult (0.5-1.0μm) we find that in general our sample is much closer spectroscopically to the ordinary chondrites and basaltic achondrites than to the spectra of main-belt asteroids, firming the link between near-Earth asteroids and meteorites.
Degree ProgramGraduate College