Comet C/2003 T4 on a disintegration border

During analyzing probability of disintegration for recent comets, I have found an interesting comet on “border-line”. Comet C/2004 T4 (LINEAR) should have only twice mass as previously disintegrated comet ISON. Known non-gravitational forces allows us to calculate limit for mass of this comets and previously disintegrated C/1999 S4 (LINEAR). Known water production rates tell us how much water mass they totally produced.

It seems that comet C/1999 S4 (LINEAR) which disintegrated very far away from Sun was extremely water poor, only having 7% of its mass in water. On other hand comet ISON with similar mass survived much farther and disintegrated very close to Sun and having nearly three times larger water fraction of its nucleus.

The “nearly” disintegrated comet C/2003 T4 have at least twice larger fraction of water in its nucleus mass then C/1999 S4, which was apparently sufficient for its surviving, even the commet suffered a heavy damage to its nucleus.

Water can play major role in comet surviving/disintegrating. Sublimating of water molecules can tranfer away heat form nucleus and protect fragile mineral content of nucleus from heat stress.

Whole study “Unexpected fading of comet C/2003 T4 (LINEAR) and disintegration of C/2012 S1 (ISON)” can be found on:

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