A. Sekhar and D. J. Asher

Resonant Behavior of Comet Halley and the Orionid Stream

Figure 1: Evolution of 1:6 resonant argument of 1P/Halley over 6000 years from 2404 B.C.


Comet 1P/Halley has the unique distinction of having a very comprehensive set of observational records for almost every perihelion passage from 240 B.C. This has helped to constrain theoretical models pertaining to its orbital evolution. Many previous works have shown the active role of mean motion resonances in the evolution of various meteoroid streams. Here we look at how various resonances, especially the 1:6 and 2:13 mean motion resonances with Jupiter, affect comet 1P/Halley and thereby enhance the chances of meteoroid particles getting trapped in resonance, leading to meteor outbursts in some particular years. Comet Halley itself librated in the 2:13 resonance from 240 B.C. to 1700 A.D. and in the 1:6 resonance from 1404 B.C. to 690 B.C., while stream particles can survive for timescales of the order of 10,000 years and 1,000 years in the 1:6 and 2:13 resonances respectively. This determines the long term dynamical evolution and stream structure, influencing the occurrence of Orionid outbursts. Specifically we are able to correlate the occurrence of enhanced meteor phenomena seen between 1436-1440, 1933-1938 & 2006-2010 with the 1:6 resonance and meteor outbursts in 1916 & 1993 with the 2:13 resonance. Ancient as well as modern observational records agree with these theoretical simulations to a very good degree.

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Last Revised: 2013 March 12th