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Acrobat in our solar system : comet 39P/Oterma (Read 4816 times)
frankuitaalst
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Acrobat in our solar system : comet 39P/Oterma
09/17/08 at 06:46:24
 
The work of J Ross describes the Comet 39P/Oterma orbit as being a comet which changed its orbit quite dramatically after a close encounter with Jupiter .  
This happened more than 40 years ago .  
Ths comet was discovered in 1942.  
Now the comet orbits in a 3:2 resonance outside Jupiters orbit , but some 45 years ago it was in a 2:3 resonace orbit in the inner solar system .  
It must have passed through the L1 point of Jupiter towards the L2 point , ejecting him into the outer solar system in his present 3:2 resonance.  
The animation herunder shows 16 frames , each covering 10 years . Animation goes back in time .  
(rotating frame to Jupiter )  
The last picture is the total path of the comet over a period of 100 years from now in top view, sun centered .  
As can be seen in the last pcture the comet must have changed its orbit even twice ( if the accurancy of the simulation allows this statement ) .
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OtermaAnimationBig.gif
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frankuitaalst
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Re: Acrobat in our solar system : comet 39P/Oterma
Reply #1 - 09/17/08 at 08:04:28
 
The next frames show the comets orbit , centered on Jupiter , at the time of closed approach.  
Animation is this time forward in time .
The grey orbit depicts the orbit of Jupiters outerst biggest moon Callisto .  
According to the timer on the screen the closest approach must have been january 1963.  
L1 must be on the left , L2 on the right of Jupiter as the comet is heading towards the outer solar system.
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OtermaCloseapproach1963.gif
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frankuitaalst
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Re: Acrobat in our solar system : comet 39P/Oterma
Reply #2 - 09/17/08 at 08:31:20
 
For those interested in the possiblities of orbit transfers using the Lagrangian Points  the above author S.Ross made a powerpoint presentatation which can be found here :  
www.esm.vt.edu/~sdross/talks/surrey-apr22.ppt
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frankuitaalst
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Re: Acrobat in our solar system : comet 39P/Oterma
Reply #3 - 09/17/08 at 14:29:55
 
From the viewpoint of the Sun the 1963 manouever must have looked as following :  
Oterma approaches from  under , gets close to the L1 point ( if it was right on the L1 point it had to be just in front of Jupiter ) , gets to the L2 point and leaves to the left , meaning it moves slower than Jupiter as it is ejected in the "outer" solar solar system .  
The white orbit is Callisto's orbit .
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OtermaseenfromSun.gif
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frankuitaalst
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Acrobat in our solar system : comet 39P/Oterma
Reply #4 - 09/18/08 at 01:38:20
 
As Oterma is a comet and is currently residing between Saturn and Jupiter , where does it come from and how did it come here ? Has it taken the "highway" jumping from Neptune to Uranus to Saturn to Jupiter ...?  
To find out I ran the simulations backwards and found that for a long time ( several thousands of years ) Oterma can have been in an moderate elliptical orbit between Jupiter and Saturn , its orbit crossing Jupiters and Saturn twice !
Of course such an orbit is unstable .
Some 6000 years ago Oterma meets Saturn very closely  and is ejected in a highly eccentric orbit bringing it far beyond Pluto and inside Jupiters orbit with period of about 200 years .  
Of course such a simulation has the disadvantage of accumulating errors over time  but it shows a possible scenario .  
Here's the evolution of its period related to Jupiters .
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« Last Edit: 09/18/08 at 02:58:04 by frankuitaalst »  

OtermaTlongPast.jpg
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frankuitaalst
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Re: Acrobat in our solar system : comet 39P/Oterma
Reply #5 - 09/19/08 at 01:04:26
 
The slingshot in post #3 in anaglyph looks as following .  
The comet approaches from the left , makes a 180 turn and leaves Jupiter towards the outer solar system .  
Picture was generated with a PBasic postgenerator .
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PicOtermametCallisto_dat_1018.jpg
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Re: Acrobat in our solar system : comet 39P/Oterma
Reply #6 - 09/20/08 at 14:27:02
 
It might have once been a Centaur.
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frankuitaalst
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Re: Acrobat in our solar system : comet 39P/Oterma
Reply #7 - 09/21/08 at 03:18:46
 
Quote from Nexus on 09/20/08 at 14:27:02:
It might have once been a Centaur.

I think your statement is true .  
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centaur_(planetoid)
Some centaurs are believed to have characteristics of comets.  
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