Polarization of Light Scattered by Cometary Dust Particles: Observations and Tentative Interpretations

Author: Levasseur-Regourd A.-C.

Source: Space Science Reviews, Volume 90, Number 1, 1 January 1999 , pp. 163-168(6)

Publisher: Springer

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Analysis of the polarization of light scattered by cometary particles reveals similarities amongst the phase curves, together with some clear differences: i) comets with a strong silicate emission feature present a high maximum in polarization, ii) the polarization is always slightly lower than the average in inner comae and stronger in jet-like structures. These results are in excellent agreement with the Greenberg model of dust particles built up of fluffy aggregates of much smaller grains. Also, they suggest the existence of different regions of formation, and of different stages of evolution for the scattering particles inside a given cometary coma.

Keywords: Comets; Dust particles; Polarization; Scattering

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Université Paris VI and Service d'Aéronomie CNRS/IPSL, BP 3, 91371 Verrières, France

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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