The Influence of Reactive Torques on Comet Nucleus Rotation
Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy
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Reactive torques, due to anisotropic sublimation on a comet nucleus surface, produce slow variations of its rotation. In this paper the secular effects of this sublimation are studied. The general rotational equations of motion are averaged over unperturbed fast rotation around the mass center (Euler-Poinsot motion) and over the orbital comet motion. We discuss the parameters that define typical properties of the rotational evolution and discover different classifications of the rotational evolution. As an example we discuss some possible scenarios of rotational evolution for the nuclei of the comets Halley and Borrelly.