The last few years have seen a rise in the popularity of comets, on both professional and amateur levels.
Many cometary events, sometimes visible without a telescope, have triggered worldwide campaigns of ground and space based observations. For instance: the explosion of comet 17P/Holmes, the sungrazers C/2006 P1 (McNaught) and C/2012 S1 (ISON), or the forthcoming close encounter of C/2013 A1 (Siding Springs) and Mars.

With the overwhelming amount of data available, it becomes more and more important to release the models we use to analyze these events. This ensures not only that more people get the opportunity to investigate the data, but is also beneficial for the science itself as everybody is able to see, use, and improve the models.

As a professional planetary scientist, I have written many tools to process the data I use, especially in the field of cometary and asteroid science. With the progress of modern computers, it is now possible to translate this tools to simple HTML/Javascript interfaces and run the models in an Internet browser. I have decided to make my tools available in this way, to be used by anybody interested in modeling cometary processes.

For more information on my work, check my personal webpage.

Models available

As of the Asteroids, Comets, Meteors 2014 conference, the first tool being released is the Finson-Probstein diagram.

This model will be followed by a full simulation of cometary dust tails, to be released in late 2014.

Terms of use

The code is contained in the sources of these webpages. It is distributed under a BSD license, available in the header of each file.

Additionally, each publication making use of this tool must include the following acknowledgement:
This research has made use of the webtool (J.-B. Vincent, 2014).

and the reference:
Vincent, J.-B., Comet-toolbox: numerical simulations of cometary dust tails in your browser,
Asteroids Comets Meteors conference, 2014, Helsinki

A full length scientific paper containing all details of the model will be available in the near future.


Jean-Baptiste Vincent
Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung
Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3
37077 Göttingen, Germany
Office Number: BT2-E3-118
Tel: +49-551-384-979-539
mail: vincent[at]