H2O and O2 Absorption in the Coma of Comet 67P Measured by the Alice Far-Ultraviolet Spectrograph on Rosetta

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Thursday, June 8, 2017

H2O and O2 Absorption in the Coma of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Measured by the Alice Far-Ultraviolet Spectrograph on Rosetta

Brian A. Keeney, S. Alan Stern, Michael F. A'Hearn, Jean-Loup Bertaux, Lori M. Feaga, Paul D. Feldman, Richard A. Medina, Joel Wm. Parker, Jon P. Pineau, Eric Schindhelm, Andrew J. Steffl, M. Versteeg, Harold A. Weaver
(Submitted on 6 Jun 2017)

We have detected H2O and O2 absorption against the far-UV continuum of stars located on lines of sight near the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko using the Alice imaging spectrograph on Rosetta. These stellar appulses occurred at impact parameters of ρ=4-20 km, and heliocentric distances ranging from Rh=−1.8 to 2.3 AU (negative values indicate pre-perihelion observations). The measured H2O column densities agree well with nearly contemporaneous values measured by VIRTIS-H. The clear detection of O2 independently confirms the initial detection by the ROSINA mass spectrometer; however, the relative abundance of O2/H2O derived from the stellar spectra (11%-68%, with a median value of 25%) is considerably larger than published values found by ROSINA. The cause of this difference is unclear, but potentially related to ROSINA measuring number density at the spacecraft position while Alice measures column density along a line of sight that passes near the nucleus.

Comments:    21 pages, accepted by MNRAS
Subjects:    Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as:    arXiv:1706.01948 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1706.01948v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Brian Keeney 
[v1] Tue, 6 Jun 2017 20:03:50 GMT (11321kb,D)

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