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Title: THE PHOTODISSOCIATION OF FORMALDEHYDE IN COMETS

Observations of comets in the 905–1180 Å spectral band made with the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer in 2001 and 2004 show unusual features in the fluorescent emissions of CO and H{sub 2}. These include emission from a non-thermal high-J rotational population of CO and solar Lyα induced fluorescence from excited vibrational levels of H{sub 2}, both of which are attributed to the photodissociation of formaldehyde. In this paper we model the large number of observed H{sub 2} lines and demonstrate the dependence of the pumping on the heliocentric velocity of the comet and the solar line profiles. We also derive the rotational and vibrational populations of H{sub 2} and show that they are consistent with the results of laboratory studies of the photodissociation of H{sub 2}CO. In addition to the principal series of H i and O i, the residual spectrum is found to consist mainly of the Rydberg series of C i multiplets from which we derive the mean carbon column abundance in the coma. Fluorescent emissions from N i and N{sub 2} are also searched for.
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, The Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518780
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 812; 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; CARBON; CARBON MONOXIDE; COMETS; DISSOCIATION; ELEMENT ABUNDANCE; EMISSION SPECTRA; FAR ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION; FLUORESCENCE; FORMALDEHYDE; HYDROGEN; MULTIPLETS; PHOTOLYSIS; RYDBERG STATES