Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Quantitative descriptions of environments near the nucleus of comet P/Halley have been developed to support spacecraft and mission design for the flyby encounters in March, 1986. To summarize these models as they exist just before the encounters, we review the relevant data from prior Halley apparitions and from recent cometary research. Orbital elements, visual magnitudes, and parameter values and analysis for the nucleus, gas and dust are combined to predict Halley's position, production rates, gas and dust distributions, and electromagnetic radiation field for the current perihelion passage. The predicted numerical results have been useful for estimating likely spacecraft effects, such as impact damage and attitude perturbation. Sample applications are cited, including design of a dust shield for spacecraft structure, and threshold and dynamic range selection for flight experiments. We expect that the comet's activity may be more irregular than these smoothly varying models predict, and that comparison with the flyby data will be instructive.
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