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Re: Jupiter capture

>>The comet was perturbed by Jupiter to bring it back on another close
>>approach in its orbit around the SUN (NOT JUPITER).

>Hmmm... I seem to recall reading (in Newsweek, so I won't be too
>surprised if it was wrong) that the comet actually was captured by
>Jupiter, and that it did orbit Jupiter once before crashing into the...

Trust me on this one (I know I have been wrong once or twice before, but not
this time!). The comet was "captured by Jupiter" in the sense that it's orbit
around the SUN was modified to bring it back to Jupiter again. If the comet
had been captured into JUPITER orbit, it would STILL be in Jupiter orbit!

>..surface.  In thinking further, I suspect that the Newsweek article was
>correct because if Jupiter had just perturbed the comet in its solar
>orbit, Jupiter would have been in a different quadrant when the
>comet's path crossed Jupiter's orbital path the next time around.

Orbital dynamics are not that simple. Besides, I don't recall anyone claiming
that this was the first orbit completed since Jupiter captured it. It may have
been "captured" millions of years ago into a Jupiter-crossing orbit, and this
was the inevitable collision.

Scott Horton
Geophysicist/Computer Programmer