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Perturbations of Cometary Orbits

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Conference Paper

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FERRANTI, LTD. London United Kingdom

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The orbits of over 500 comets have been calculated from observational data obtained while the comets were visible from the earth. From these observations it is found that the orbits fall into two main groups 1 Those with parabolic or nearly parabolic orbits. 2 Those that have definitely elliptic orbits. The second group contains all comets with periods less than 100 years. It is found that of over 70 comets that go to make up this group only three have an inclination to the ecliptic of more than 300 and the average inclination is 13. Also, apart from Halleys comet, all have the same direction of motion around the sun as Jupiter. These two facts lead to the conjecture that originally all these comets belonged to the first group and have, by one or several close encounters with Jupiter, been diverted into their present orbits. Comet Brooks 1889 V was observed to undergo this capture by Jupiter.

Subject Categories:

  • Celestial Mechanics
  • Astronomy

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