Activity and Evolution of Oort Cloud Comets

Comets formed early in the evolution of the solar system while material was accreting to form planets. When proto-planets became large enough, a population of comets was dynamically ejected into the Oort cloud. Comets entering the inner solar system for the first time are called dynamically new comets. These objects have not been heated by the Sun and retain some of the most primordial material available for observation in the solar system.

The activity of comets is known to vary as they fly through the solar system. Seasonal variations occur when different parts of the nucleus are heated at different times. Evolutionary variation is driven by the activation and depletion of different volatiles. For recent comets such as Garradd and Siding Spring, I will discuss whether observed changes in activity reflected inherent inhomogeneities or evolutionary processes.

16/02/2015 - 13:30
Dr. Dennis Bodewits
University of Maryland