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Rapid dynamical evolution of giant comet Chiron

Abstract

Numerical simulation of orbits like that of the giant comet Chiron show a distinct asymmetry between past and future. Simulations extending ±100,000 years from the present suggest that on this time-scale, Chiron is about twice as likely to have been a short-period comet at some time in the past as to become one in the future. The mean half-life for such evolution is 0.2 Myr, much less than the l-Myr lifetime for ejection from the Solar System, implying that Chiron may have been a short-period comet in the past, and will probably become one in the future.

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Hahn, G., Bailey, M. Rapid dynamical evolution of giant comet Chiron. Nature 348, 132–136 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1038/348132a0

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