Volume 407, Number 1, August III 2003
|Page(s)||L5 - L8|
|Published online||17 November 2003|
Letter to the Editor
Optical properties of cometary dust
Constraints from numerical studies on light scattering by aggregate particles
Institut für Planetologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Wilhelm-Klemm-Straße 10, 48149 Münster, Germany
2 Department of Astronomy, 211 SSRB, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-2055, USA
Corresponding author: H. Kimura, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 24 June 2003
Optical observations of cometary dust have revealed that the solar radiation scattered by the dust has common characteristics in the phase-angle and wavelength dependences of intensity (including albedo) and polarization, irrespective of the properties of the parent comets. We present numerical calculations on light scattering by clusters of spheres showing that all of these common optical properties are reproduced by large aggregates consisting of optically dark submicron grains. Our model neither invokes any averaging of the results over size and/or composition of the aggregates nor needs to specify the configuration of the constituent grains. The refractive indices used in this model are consistent with a mixture of silicates, metals, and carbonaceous compounds with the element abundances of cometary dust.
Key words: comets: general / interplanetary medium / meteors, meteoroids / polarization / scattering
© ESO, 2003
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