View Full Version : How long will Encke last?

2003-Apr-11, 05:50 AM
I hope this is a quick question. I remember reading that since the comet Encke is always fairly close to the sun that it'd disintegrate fairly soon. However I never found how soon was meant by that. So I'm curious, how much longer will it be around before melting so to speak?

2003-Apr-12, 08:32 AM
If I read this page (http://www.contour2002.org/overview4.html) correctly, they seem to imply that the body of the comet will conntinue for quite some time:

Because of its proximity to the Sun and its stable orbit, comet Encke is probably one of the most evolved comets that still remains active. It may represent a transition object between an active comet and the defunct comets that are thought to make up a significant percentage of the near-Earth asteroid population. The orbit of comet Encke is very stable both in its size and orientation because it can pass no closer to Jupiter than about 0.9 AU. This orbital stability together with the associated Taurid meteor showers that have been observed for a few thousand years suggest that comet Encke has remained in its present orbit for several millennia.