Physical Studies of Comets and Asteroids

under Division III: Planetary Systems Sciences

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The IAU Commission 15 has the responsibility for promoting scientific progress and research achievements in the broad field of physical studies of the so-called minor bodies in our Solar System, a vast collection of bodies including near-Earth objects, main belt asteroids, Trojan asteroids, trans-neptunian objects, comets. This is a very interdisciplinary Commission, including application of different theoretical approaches, making use of a variety of observing techniques and laboratory analyses, devoted to improving our understanding of the origin, evolution and current physical properties of a big population of small bodies orbiting at very different heliocentric distances. In terms of physical properties, asteroids and comets present apparently some general and evident differences in their observable behaviour, mostly related to the presence of volatiles which produce the typical activity of comets. For this reasons, for a long time asteroids and comets have been investigated by separate scientific communities, each using its own models and techniques of investigation. On the other hand, more recently it has become increasingly evident that the differences between the two kinds of objects are much less sharp than previously believed.

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News: Business Meeting of Comm.15 during IAU GA in Beijing, August 29, 2012, 14:00-18:00. Do not miss it!

Guidelines to membership

Non IAU Members

Must apply first to become IAU members, either through a National Member in your country or as an Individual Member. Applicants must choose the Division/Commission where they wish to be enroled in the application form. For more information, check the IAU web page.

IAU Members

Send a message to the Commission Secretariat requesting the membership, explaining the reasons for the request, and providing a short vitae emphasizing your publications in the area. Indicate also the other IAU Scientific Bodies that you are enroled to. Applications will be analyzed by the Organizing Committee.

Scientific Highlights

Scientific papers presenting results of interest for IAU Commission 15 are published in a large variety of journals, including both those specialized on Planetary Science, and journals publishing articles dealing with a large variety of branches of modern Astrophysics (see the Links section). We suggest authors who want to inform colleagues about new results (published or in press) to use the new Forum facility (see forum link above).

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