Date: Sat, 31 May 1997 18:39:03 -0700

From: Pat Whitman

Organization: USL Subject: hole

Pat said in part..... Hi Tony,

My first thoughts on the donut hole. We see comets due to their outgasing and if they don't or are too far away we won't see them. We see lots between Jupiter and the sun as they come in kind of close and out gas. We see few outside Jupiter as those which come in close so they can brighten and be seen, will be ejected. Those that hug the sun and always stay close are suicidal and soon become dead comets. I really would have expected the cutoff closer to earth and not mars, but this still may be the answer. This would not mean there are fewer comets, just fewer that are live comets. I suspect we see a lot of near earth asteroids in this region. They would mostly be the "dead burnt bodies" of the missing comets. This information might give a really smart guy a tool to determine the rate of dying of these comets. We might like to think about this.

And Pat also said..... I remind you of a find of ours that you seemed to have overlooked the relevance of (assuming the error is not mine and the point is of no relevance). Back when you reduced the number of points per orbit we found another hole. This structure went away if we chose any other fraction of points, suggesting it was a phasing problem. But why should comet orbits have a phasing preference unless they talk to each other: I think it might be a resonance in the set of these NEO's. It may be true and all but me already know about it, but it doesn't hurt to ask. so maybe we have a discovery here too.

Then again there is the oddity of Oct 5 1996 points out near Jupiter being behind Jupiter with few in front of Jupiter. Is this a freak, too, or are we again seeing some sort of resonance phenomena. I don't know too much about resonance and maybe we need to learn something about it.