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Spitzer Observations of Comets: Unveiling the Lurking Dust

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Vaubaillon (Spitzer Science Center, Caltech)

Spitzer observations of comets (MIPS, 24 microns) are able to unveil the mm-size particles that represent 90% of the cometary dust mass loss and are the most efficient way to exchange matter in the Solar system. These particles follow the nucleus in stream. They are rarely directly observed (with optical techniques) or sampled by space probes. The most obvious evidence of their presence relies in the meteor showers on Earth. IR observations and numerical simulations of their trajectories allow us to characterize their properties and size distribution and to study the link between comets and asteroids.

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