An activity index, AI, is derived from observational data to measure the increase of activity in magnitudes for comets when brightest near perihelion as compared to their inactive reflective brightness at great solar distances. Because the observational data are still instrumentally limited in the latter case and because many comets carry particulate clouds about them at great solar distances, the application of the activity index is still limited. A tentative application is made for the comets observed by Max Beyer over a period of nearly 40 years, providing a uniform magnitude system for the near-perihelion observations. In all, 32 determinations are made for long-period (L-P) comets and 15 for short-period (S-P). Although the correlations are scarcely definitive, the data suggest that the faintest comets are just as active as the brightest and that the S-P comets are almost as active as those with periods (P) exceeding 104 years or those with orbital inclinations of i less than 120 deg. Comets in the range 102 less than P less than 104 yr. or with i greater than 120 deg appear to be somewhat more active than the others. There is no evidence to suggest aging among the L-P comets or to suggest other than a common nature for comets generally.
Asteroids, Comets, Meteors 1991
- Pub Date:
- December 1992
- Cometary Atmospheres;