Skip to main content
×
×
Home

The molecular composition of comets and its interrelation with other small bodies of the Solar System

  • Jacques Crovisier (a1)
Abstract

The present status of our knowledge of the composition of cometary nuclei is reviewed and compared with what we know on the composition of other Solar System minor bodies – interplanetary dust, meteorites, asteroids, trans-Neptunian objects. The current methods of investigations – by both in situ analysis and remote sensing – are described. Comets are active objects pouring their internal material to form a dusty atmosphere which can be investigated by remote sensing. This is not the case for minor planets and trans-Neptunian objects for which only the outer surface is accessible. Collected interplanetary dust particles and meteorites can be analysed at leisure in terrestrial laboratories, but we do not know for certain which are their parent bodies.

Considerable progresses have been made from spectroscopic observations of active comets, mainly at infrared and radio wavelengths. We probably know now most of the main components of cometary ices, but we still have a very partial view of the minor ones. The elemental composition of cometary dust particles is known from in situ investigations, but their chemical nature is only known for species like silicates which have observable spectral features. A crucial component, still ill-characterized, is the (semi-)refractory organic material of high molecular mass present in grains. This component is possibly responsible for distributed sources of molecules in the coma. A large diversity of composition from comet to comet is observed, so that no “typical comet” can be defined. No clear correlation between the composition and the region of formation of the comets and their subsequent dynamical history can yet be established.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      The molecular composition of comets and its interrelation with other small bodies of the Solar System
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      The molecular composition of comets and its interrelation with other small bodies of the Solar System
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      The molecular composition of comets and its interrelation with other small bodies of the Solar System
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
  • ISSN: 1743-9213
  • EISSN: 1743-9221
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-international-astronomical-union
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed