The Discovery of Dust Trails in the Orbits of Periodic Comets

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Science  30 May 1986:
Vol. 232, Issue 4754, pp. 1115-1117
DOI: 10.1126/science.232.4754.1115


Analysis of data from the Infrared Astronomical Satellite has yielded evidence for narrow trails of dust coincident with the orbits of periodic comets Tempel 2, Encke, and Gunn. Dust was found both ahead of and behind the orbital positions of these comets. This dust was produced by the low-velocity ejection of large particles during perihelion passage. More than 100 additional dust trails are suggested by the data, almost all near the detection limits of the satellite. Many of these dust trails may be derived from previously unobserved comets.