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Title: PECULIAR NEAR-NUCLEUS OUTGASSING OF COMET 17P/HOLMES DURING ITS 2007 OUTBURST

We present high angular resolution Submillimeter Array observations of the outbursting Jupiter family comet 17P/Holmes on 2007 October 26-29, achieving a spatial resolution of 2.''5, or ∼3000 km at the comet distance. The observations resulted in detections of the rotational lines CO 3-2, HCN 4-3, H{sup 13}CN 4-3, CS 7-6, H{sub 2}CO 3{sub 1,} {sub 2}-2{sub 1,} {sub 1}, H{sub 2}S 2{sub 2,} {sub 0}-2{sub 1,} {sub 1}, and multiple CH{sub 3}OH lines, along with the associated dust continuum at 221 and 349 GHz. The continuum has a spectral index of 2.7 ± 0.3, slightly steeper than blackbody emission from large dust particles. From the imaging data, we identify two components in the molecular emission. One component is characterized by a relatively broad line width (∼1 km s{sup –1} FWHM) exhibiting a symmetric outgassing pattern with respect to the nucleus position. The second component has a narrower line width (<0.5 km s{sup –1} FWHM) with the line center redshifted by 0.1-0.2 km s{sup –1} (cometocentric frame), and shows a velocity shift across the nucleus position with the position angle gradually changing from 66° to 30° within the four days of observations. We determine distinctly different CO/HCN ratios for each of the components. For the broad-line component we find CO/HCN <more » 7, while in the narrow-line component, CO/HCN = 40 ± 5. We hypothesize that the narrow-line component originates from the ice grain halo found in near-nucleus photometry, believed to be created by sublimating recently released ice grains around the nucleus during the outburst. In this interpretation, the high CO/HCN ratio of this component reflects the more pristine volatile composition of nucleus material released in the outburst.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, MS 42, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
  2. Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden (Netherlands)
  3. Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences and Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California at Los Angeles, 595 Charles Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90095 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22364430
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 799; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; CARBON MONOXIDE; COMETS; COSMIC DUST; DEGASSING; GHZ RANGE; ICE; INDEXES; JUPITER PLANET; LINE WIDTHS; METHANOL; PHOTOMETRY; RED SHIFT; SPATIAL RESOLUTION