skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: NEUTRAL Na IN COMETARY TAILS AS A REMNANT OF EARLY AQUEOUS ALTERATION

Observations of comet C/1995O1 Hale-Bopp during the spring of 1997 led to the discovery of a neutral sodium tail whose origin is still not clearly understood. Here, we propose an interpretation for the origin of this sodium tail, which is based upon chemical grounds. Starting from Na{sup +} trapped chemically during the condensation of refractory material in the protosolar nebula to its incorporation in the building blocks of comets and its transfer from refractory to volatile phases in the nucleus due to aqueous alteration, we follow the chemical path of sodium until its transformation into a neutral atom when released from the sublimating cometary ice. We propose that two Na reservoirs should coexist in a comet: one coming from the refractory dust, the other one from the icy matrix. Their relative importance would depend on the extent of the zone where liquid water formed within the nucleus and the time during which water remained liquid, thus favoring the Na{sup +} exchange between rocks and ice. These two key parameters would in turn strongly depend on the thermal history of the comet (amounts of radiogenic nuclides, orbital history, etc.). If our model is correct, the detection of Na originating from water icemore » would be a testimonial of the past aqueous alteration of the comet or its parent body.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1] ;  [2] ; ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5]
  1. Laboratoire de Chimie Théorique, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, CNRS UMR 7616, F-75252 Paris CEDEX 05 (France)
  2. Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM), Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, UMR 7326, F-13388 Marseille (France)
  3. Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers de Besançon, Université de Franche-Comté, Institut UTINAM, CNRS/INSU, UMR 6213, F-35030 Besançon CEDEX (France)
  4. LATMOS/IPSL, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, CNRS UMR 8190, F-75252 Paris CEDEX 05 (France)
  5. LESIA—Observatoire de Paris, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, Univ. Paris-Diderot, CNRS UMR 8109, F-92190 Meudon (France)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518467
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 801; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; 79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ATOMS; CLOUDS; COMETS; DETECTION; ICE; LIQUIDS; PROTOPLANETS; PROTOSTARS; ROCKS; SODIUM; SODIUM IONS; SOLAR NEBULA; WATER