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See detailOrtho-to-para abundance ratios of NH2in 26 comets: implications for the real meaning of OPRs
Shinnaka, Yoshiharu; Kawakita, Hideyo; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2016), 462

Abundance ratios of nuclear-spin isomers for cometary molecules having identical protons, such as water and ammonia, have been measured and discussed from the viewpoint that they are primordial characters ... [more ▼]

Abundance ratios of nuclear-spin isomers for cometary molecules having identical protons, such as water and ammonia, have been measured and discussed from the viewpoint that they are primordial characters in comet. In the case of ammonia, its ortho-to-para abundance ratio (OPR) is usually estimated from OPRs of NH2 because of difficulty in measuring OPR of ammonia directly. We report our survey for OPRs of NH2 in 26 comets. A weighted mean of ammonia OPRs for the comets is 1.12 ± 0.01 and no significant difference is found between the Oort Cloud comets and the Jupiter-family comets. These values correspond to ∼30 K as nuclear-spin temperatures. The OPRs of ammonia in comets probably reflect the physicochemical conditions in coma, rather than the conditions for the molecular formation or condensation in the pre-solar molecular cloud/the solar nebula, based on comparison of OPRs (and nuclear-spin temperatures) of ammonia with those of water, 14N/15N ratios in ammonia, and D/H ratios in water. The OPRs could be reset to a nuclear-spin weights ratio in solid phase and modified by interactions with protonated ions like H3O+, water clusters (H2O)n, ice grains, and paramagnetic impurities (such as O2 molecules and grains) in the inner coma gas. Relationship between the OPRs of ammonia and water is a clue to understanding the real meaning of the OPRs. [less ▲]

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See detailNitrogen isotopic ratios of NH 2 in comets: implication for 15 N-fractionation in cometary ammonia
Shinnaka, Yoshiharu; Kawakita, Hideyo; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2016), 462

The isotopic ratios are diagnostics for the physico-chemical conditions governing molecular formation. In comets, 14N/15N ratios have been measured from HCN in three comets and from CN in more than 20 ... [more ▼]

The isotopic ratios are diagnostics for the physico-chemical conditions governing molecular formation. In comets, 14N/15N ratios have been measured from HCN in three comets and from CN in more than 20 comets. Those ratios are enriched in 15N compared to the Sun by a factor of ∼3, have a small diversity and do not depend on the dynamical type of the comets. The origin of this high 15N-fractionation is still in debate because CN probably comes not only from HCN, but also from other materials (such as polymers or organic dusts) in the coma. Consequently, an interpretation of the isotopic ratios in cometary CN is quite complicated due to the multiple possible parents of CN. In contrast with CN, the isotopic ratios of nitrogen in NH3 give us a much clearer interpretation than in CN because NH3 is directly incorporated in the nuclear ices. To estimate the 14N/15N ratios in NH3, 14N/15N ratios have been determined from high-resolution spectra of NH2 in the optical wavelength region. NH2 is indeed a dominant photodissociation product of NH3. Those ratios were also found to be enriched in 15N compared to the Sun by a factor of ∼3. In this paper, we present 14N/15N ratios in NH2 for an additional sample of 16 comets. Our sample includes short-period comets as well as long-period comets. We found that the 14N/15N ratios in cometary NH2 also show a small dispersion and do not depend on the dynamical origin of the comets. [less ▲]

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See detailSurvey for Ortho-to-Para Abundance Ratios (OPRs) of NH2 in Comets: Revisit to the Meaning of OPRs of Cometary Volatiles
Kawakita, Hideyo; Shinnaka, Yoshiharu; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg et al

in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society (2016, October 01), 48

Since molecules having identical protons can be classified into nuclear-spin isomers (e.g., ortho-H[SUB]2[/SUB]O and para-H[SUB]2[/SUB]O for water) and their inter-conversions by radiative and non ... [more ▼]

Since molecules having identical protons can be classified into nuclear-spin isomers (e.g., ortho-H[SUB]2[/SUB]O and para-H[SUB]2[/SUB]O for water) and their inter-conversions by radiative and non-destructive collisional processes are believed to be very slow, the ortho-to-para abundance ratios (OPRs) of cometary volatiles such as H[SUB]2[/SUB]O, NH[SUB]3[/SUB] and CH[SUB]4[/SUB] in coma have been considered as primordial characters of cometary molecules [1]. Those ratios are usually interpreted as nuclear-spin temperatures although the real meaning of OPRs is in strong debate. Recent progress in laboratory studies about nuclear-spin conversion in gas- and solid-phases [2,3] revealed short-time nuclear-spin conversions for water, and we have to reconsider the interpretation for observed OPRs of cometary volatiles. We have already performed the survey for OPRs of NH[SUB]2[/SUB] in more than 20 comets by large aperture telescopes with high-resolution spectrographs (UVES/VLT, HDS/Subaru, etc.) in the optical wavelength region [4]. The observed OPRs of ammonia estimated from OPRs of NH[SUB]2[/SUB], cluster around ~1.1 (cf. 1.0 as a high-temperature limit), indicative of ~30 K as nuclear-spin temperatures. We present our latest results for OPRs of cometary NH[SUB]2[/SUB] and discuss about the real meaning of OPRs of cometary ammonia, in relation to OPRs of water in cometary coma. Chemical processes in the inner coma may play an important role to achieve un-equilibrated OPRs of cometary volatiles in coma.This work was financially supported by MEXT Supported Program for the Strategic Research Foundation at Private Universities, 2014–2018 (No. S1411028) (HK) and by Graint-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows, 15J10864 (YS).References:[1] Mumma & Charnley, 2011, Annu. Rev. Astro. Astrophys. 49, 471.[2] Hama & Watanabe, 2013, Chem. Rev. 113, 8783.[3] Hama et al., 2008, Science 351, 6268.[4] Shinnaka et al., 2011, ApJ 729, 81. [less ▲]

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See detailThe OD/OH Isotope Ratio in Comets 8P/Tuttle and C/2012 F6 (Lemmon)
Rousselot, Philippe; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg et al

in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society (2016, October 01), 48

The determination of isotopic ratios in solar system objects is an important source of information about their origin, especially for comets. Among these ratios the D/H is of particular importance because ... [more ▼]

The determination of isotopic ratios in solar system objects is an important source of information about their origin, especially for comets. Among these ratios the D/H is of particular importance because of its sensitivity to fractionation processes and physical environment, and the abundance of hydrogen in the solar system. The main molecule used to derive this ratio in comets is water. So far, apart water, only HCN has permitted to derive D/H ratio and not only upper limits.Most of the existing determinations of D/H in water molecules have been obtained by spectroscopic observations of water lines in the sub-mm or near infrared range [1,2]. So far only one measurement has been based on OD/OH emission lines radicals in the near-UV [3] and another one on the Lyman-alpha D emission [4]. In situ measurements have also been obtained in comets 1P/Halley and 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko using mass spectrometer [5,6,7,8].In this work we have used the OH and OD ultraviolet bands at 310 nm observed with the ESO 8-m Very Large Telescope feeding the Ultraviolet-Visual Echelle Spectrograph (UVES) for measuring the D/H ratio in comets 8P/Tuttle and C/2012 F6 (Lemmon). The OH and OD being the photodissociation products of H[SUB]2[/SUB]O and HDO such observations allow to derive D/H ratio for water molecules. This work constitutes an independant determination of the D/H ratios already published for these comets and based on observations performed in the sub-mm and near infrared range of H[SUB]2[/SUB]O and HDO lines. We present our modeling, data analysis and numerical values obtained for this ratio.[1] D. Bockelée-Morvan et al., 2015, SSR 197, 47-83 [2] N. Biver et al., 2016, A&A 589, id A78, 11p [3] D. Hutsemékers et al., 2008, A&A 490, L31 [4] H.A. Weaver et al., 2008, LPI Contributions 1405, 8216 [5] H. Balsiger, K. Altwegg, J. Geiss, 1995, JGR 100, 5827 [6] P. Eberhardt et al., 1995, A&A 302, 301 [7] R.H. Brown et al., 2012, PSS 60, 166 [8] K. Alwegg et al., 2015, Science 347, article id. 1261952 [less ▲]

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See detailThe 19 Feb. 2016 Outburst of Comet 67P/CG: An ESA Rosetta Multi-Instrument Study
Grün, E.; Agarwal, J.; Altobelli, N. et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2016)

On 19 Feb. 2016 nine Rosetta instruments serendipitously observed an outburst of gas and dust from the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Among these instruments were cameras and spectrometers ... [more ▼]

On 19 Feb. 2016 nine Rosetta instruments serendipitously observed an outburst of gas and dust from the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Among these instruments were cameras and spectrometers ranging from UV over visible to microwave wavelengths, in-situ gas, dust and plasma instruments, and one dust collector. At 9:40 a dust cloud developed at the edge of an image in the shadowed region of the nucleus. Over the next two hours the instruments recorded a signature of the outburst that significantly exceeded the background. The enhancement ranged from 50% of the neutral gas density at Rosetta to factors >100 of the brightness of the coma near the nucleus. Dust related phenomena (dust counts or brightness due to illuminated dust) showed the strongest enhancements (factors >10). However, even the electron density at Rosetta increased by a factor 3 and consequently the spacecraft potential changed from ˜-16 V to -20 V during the outburst. A clear sequence of events was observed at the distance of Rosetta (34 km from the nucleus): within 15 minutes the Star Tracker camera detected fast particles (˜25 m s[SUP]-1[/SUP]) while 100 μm radius particles were detected by the GIADA dust instrument ˜1 hour later at a speed of ~6 m s[SUP]-1[/SUP]. The slowest were individual mm to cm sized grains observed by the OSIRIS cameras. Although the outburst originated just outside the FOV of the instruments, the source region and the magnitude of the outburst could be determined. [less ▲]

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See detailObservational signatures of past mass-exchange episodes in massive binaries : The cases of LSS 3074 and HD 17505
Raucq, Françoise ULg; Rauw, Grégor ULg; Gosset, Eric ULg et al

Poster (2016, July)

Mass and angular momentum exchanges through Roche Lobe Overflow interactions within close massive binaries are known to play an important role in the subsequent evolution of the components of such systems ... [more ▼]

Mass and angular momentum exchanges through Roche Lobe Overflow interactions within close massive binaries are known to play an important role in the subsequent evolution of the components of such systems, and produce several observational signatures, such as asynchronous rotation and altered chemical compositions, that remain once the stars detach again. We have started to investigate these effects in a sample of massive O-star binaries that are thought to have previously experienced a Case A Roche Lobe Overflow episode. Using phase-resolved spectroscopy, we perform the disentangling of the optical spectra of the two stars. The reconstructed primary and secondary spectra re then analysed with the CMFGEN model atmosphere code to determine stellar parameters such as the effective temperatures, surface gravities and rotational velocities, and to constrain the chemical composition of the components. In this contribution, we present the results of our analyses of LSS 3074 (O5.5I + O6.5-7I, P = 2.1852 days), together with the analyses of its photometric lightcurve and orbital solution. We also present the first results of our analyses of the triple system HD17505 ([O7.5V + O7.5V, P = 8.57 days] + O6.5III). [less ▲]

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See detailAbel inversion method for cometary atmospheres.
Hubert, Benoît ULg; Opitom, Cyrielle ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg et al

in Geophysical Research Abstracts (2016, April 01), 18

Remote observation of cometary atmospheres produces a measurement of the cometary emissions integrated along the line of sight joining the observing instrument and the gas of the coma. This integration is ... [more ▼]

Remote observation of cometary atmospheres produces a measurement of the cometary emissions integrated along the line of sight joining the observing instrument and the gas of the coma. This integration is the so-called Abel transform of the local emission rate. We develop a method specifically adapted to the inversion of the Abel transform of cometary emissions, that retrieves the radial profile of the emission rate of any unabsorbed emission, under the hypothesis of spherical symmetry of the coma. The method uses weighted least squares fitting and analytical results. A Tikhonov regularization technique is applied to reduce the possible effects of noise and ill-conditioning, and standard error propagation techniques are implemented. Several theoretical tests of the inversion techniques are carried out to show its validity and robustness, and show that the method is only weakly dependent on any constant offset added to the data, which reduces the dependence of the retrieved emission rate on the background subtraction. We apply the method to observations of three different comets observed using the TRAPPIST instrument: 103P/ Hartley 2, F6/ Lemmon and A1/ Siding spring. We show that the method retrieves realistic emission rates, and that characteristic lengths and production rates can be derived from the emission rate for both CN and C2 molecules. We show that the emission rate derived from the observed flux of CN emission at 387 nm and from the C2 emission at 514.1 nm of comet Siding Spring both present an easily-identifiable shoulder that corresponds to the separation between pre- and post-outburst gas. As a general result, we show that diagnosing properties and features of the coma using the emission rate is easier than directly using the observed flux. We also determine the parameters of a Haser model fitting the inverted data and fitting the line-of-sight integrated observation, for which we provide the exact analytical expression of the line-of-sight integration of the Haser model. [less ▲]

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See detailDistant activity of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014: Ground-based results during the Rosetta pre-landing phase
Snodgrass, Colin; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Manfroid, Jean ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 588

Context. As the ESA Rosetta mission approached, orbited, and sent a lander to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014, a large campaign of ground-based observations also followed the comet. <BR /> Aims ... [more ▼]

Context. As the ESA Rosetta mission approached, orbited, and sent a lander to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014, a large campaign of ground-based observations also followed the comet. <BR /> Aims: We constrain the total activity level of the comet by photometry and spectroscopy to place Rosetta results in context and to understand the large-scale structure of the comet's coma pre-perihelion. <BR /> Methods: We performed observations using a number of telescopes, but concentrate on results from the 8 m VLT and Gemini South telescopes in Chile. We use R-band imaging to measure the dust coma contribution to the comet's brightness and UV-visible spectroscopy to search for gas emissions, primarily using VLT/FORS. In addition we imaged the comet in near-infrared wavelengths (JHK) in late 2014 with Gemini-S/Flamingos-2. <BR /> Results: We find that the comet was already active in early 2014 at heliocentric distances beyond 4 au. The evolution of the total activity (measured by dust) followed previous predictions. No gas emissions were detected despite sensitive searches. <BR /> Conclusions: The comet maintains a similar level of activity from orbit to orbit, and is in that sense predictable, meaning that Rosetta results correspond to typical behaviour for this comet. The gas production (for CN at least) is highly asymmetric with respect to perihelion, as our upper limits are below the measured production rates for similar distances post-perihelion in previous orbits. Based on observations made with ESO telescopes at the La Silla Paranal Observatory under programme IDs 592.C-0924, 093.C-0593, 094.C-0054, and at Gemini South under GS-2014B-Q-15 and GS-2014B-Q-76. [less ▲]

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See detailNew and updated convex shape models of asteroids based on optical data from a large collaboration network
Hanuš, J.; Ďurech, J.; Oszkiewicz, D. A. et al

in Astronomy & Astrophysics (2016), 586

Asteroid modeling efforts in the last decade resulted in a comprehensive dataset of almost 400 convex shape models and their rotation states. This amount already provided a deep insight into physical ... [more ▼]

Asteroid modeling efforts in the last decade resulted in a comprehensive dataset of almost 400 convex shape models and their rotation states. This amount already provided a deep insight into physical properties of main-belt asteroids or large collisional families. We aim to increase the number of asteroid shape models and rotation states. Such results are an important input for various further studies such as analysis of asteroid physical properties in different populations, including smaller collisional families, thermophysical modeling, and scaling shape models by disk-resolved images, or stellar occultation data. This provides, in combination with known masses, bulk density estimates, but constrains also theoretical collisional and evolutional models of the Solar System. We use all available disk-integrated optical data (i.e., classical dense-in-time photometry obtained from public databases and through a large collaboration network as well as sparse-in-time individual measurements from a few sky surveys) as an input for the convex inversion method, and derive 3D shape models of asteroids, together with their rotation periods and orientations of rotation axes. The key ingredient is the support of more that one hundred observers who submit their optical data to publicly available databases. We present updated shape models for 36 asteroids, for which mass estimates are currently available in the literature or their masses will be most likely determined from their gravitational influence on smaller bodies, which orbital deflection will be observed by the ESA Gaia astrometric mission. This was achieved by using additional optical data from recent apparitions for the shape optimization. Moreover, we also present new shape model determinations for 250 asteroids, including 13 Hungarias and 3 near-Earth asteroids. [less ▲]

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See detailLong-term activity and outburst of comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) from narrow-band photometry and long-slit spectroscopy
Opitom, Cyrielle ULg; Guilbert-Lepoutre, A.; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2016), 589

In this paper, we present a unique data set of more than one year's worth of regular observations of comet C/2013 A1(Siding Spring) with TRAPPIST in Chile, along with low-resolution spectra obtained with ... [more ▼]

In this paper, we present a unique data set of more than one year's worth of regular observations of comet C/2013 A1(Siding Spring) with TRAPPIST in Chile, along with low-resolution spectra obtained with the ESO/VLT FORS 2 instrument. The comet made a close approach to Mars on October 19, 2014 and was then observed by many space and ground-based telescopes. We followed the evolution of the OH, NH, CN, $\mathrm{C_3}$, and $\mathrm{C_2}$ production rates as well as the $Af\rho$ parameter as a proxy for the dust production. We detected an outburst two weeks after perihelion, with gas and dust production rates being multiplied by a factor five within a few days. By modelling the shape of the CN and $\mathrm{C_2}$ radial profiles, we determined that the outburst happened around on November 10 around 15:30 UT ($\pm$ 5h) and measured a gas ejection velocity of $1.1\pm0.2$ km/s. We used a thermal evolution model to reproduce the activity pattern and outburst. Our results are consistent with the progressive formation of a dust mantle explaining the shallow dependence of gas production rates, which may be partially blown off during the outburst. We studied the evolution of gas composition, using various ratios such as CN/OH, $\mathrm{C_2}$/OH, or $\mathrm{C_3}$/OH, which showed little or no variation with heliocentric distance including at the time of the outburst. This indicates a relative level of homogeneity of the nucleus composition. [less ▲]

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See detailAn inversion method for cometary atmospheres
Hubert, Benoît ULg; Opitom, Cyrielle ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg et al

in Icarus (2016), 277

Remote observation of cometary atmospheres produces a measurement of the cometary emissions integrated along the line of sight. This integration is the so-called Abel transform of the local emission rate ... [more ▼]

Remote observation of cometary atmospheres produces a measurement of the cometary emissions integrated along the line of sight. This integration is the so-called Abel transform of the local emission rate. The observation is generally interpreted under the hypothesis of spherical symmetry of the coma. Under that hypothesis, the Abel transform can be inverted. We derive a numerical inversion method adapted to cometary atmospheres using both analytical results and least squares fitting techniques. This method, derived under the usual hypothesis of spherical symmetry, allows us to retrieve the radial distribution of the emission rate of any unabsorbed emission, which is the fundamental, physically meaningful quantity governing the observation. A Tikhonov regularization technique is also applied to reduce the possibly deleterious effects of the noise present in the observation and to warrant that the problem remains well posed. Standard error propagation techniques are included in order to estimate the uncertainties affecting the retrieved emission rate. Several theoretical tests of the inversion techniques are carried out to show its validity and robustness. In particular, we show that the Abel inversion of real data is only weakly sensitive to an offset applied to the input flux, which implies that the method, applied to the study of a cometary atmosphere, is only weakly dependent on uncertainties on the sky background which has to be subtracted from the raw observations of the coma. We apply the method to observations of three different comets observed using the TRAPPIST telescope: 103P/ Hartley 2, F6/ Lemmon and A1/ Siding Spring. We show that the method retrieves realistic emission rates, and that characteristic lengths and production rates can be derived from the emission rate for both CN and C2 molecules. We show that the retrieved characteristic lengths can differ from those obtained from a direct least squares fitting over the observed flux of radiation, and that discrepancies can be reconciled for by correcting this flux by an offset (to which the inverse Abel transform is nearly not sensitive). The A1/Siding Spring observations were obtained very shortly after the comet produced an outburst, and we show that the emission rate derived from the observed flux of CN emission at 387 nm and from the C2 emission at 514.1 nm both present an easily-identifiable shoulder that corresponds to the separation between pre- and post-outburst gas. As a general result, we show that diagnosing properties and features of the coma using the emission rate is easier than directly using the observed flux, because the Abel transform produces a smoothing that blurs the signatures left by features present in the coma. We also determine the parameters of a Haser model fitting the inverted data and fitting the line-of-sight integrated observation, for which we provide the exact analytical expression of the line-of-sight integration of the Haser model. [less ▲]

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See detailTRAPPIST photometry and imaging monitoring of comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy): Implications for the origin of daughter species
Opitom, Cyrielle ULg; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Manfroid, Jean ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 584

We report the results of the narrow-band photometry and imaging monitoring of comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) with the robotic telescope TRAPPIST (La Silla observatory). We gathered around 400 images over 8 ... [more ▼]

We report the results of the narrow-band photometry and imaging monitoring of comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) with the robotic telescope TRAPPIST (La Silla observatory). We gathered around 400 images over 8 months pre- and post-perihelion between September 12, 2013 and July 6, 2014. We followed the evolution of the OH, NH, CN, C[SUB]3[/SUB], and C[SUB]2[/SUB] production rates computed with the Haser model, as well as the evolution of the dust production. All five gas species display an asymmetry about perihelion, since the rate of brightening is steeper than the rate of fading. The study of the coma morphology reveals gas and dust jets that indicate one or several active zone(s) on the nucleus. The dust, C[SUB]2[/SUB], and C[SUB]3[/SUB] morphologies present some similarities, while the CN morphology is different. OH and NH are enhanced in the tail direction. The study of the evolution of the comet activity shows that the OH, NH, and C[SUB]2[/SUB] production rate evolution with the heliocentric distance is correlated to the dust evolution. The CN and, to a lesser extent, the C[SUB]3[/SUB] do not display such a correlation with the dust. This evidence and the comparison with parent species production rates indicate that C[SUB]2[/SUB] and C[SUB]3[/SUB], on one hand, and OH and NH, on the other, could be - at least partially - released from organic - rich grains and icy grains. On the contrary, all evidences point to HCN being the main parent of CN in this comet. [less ▲]

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See detailJoyaux cosmiques - 12/2015
Manfroid, Jean ULg

Article for general public (2015)

NGC 3521 - Le Sac de Charbon - L’Univers jeune

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See detailL'astronomie dans le monde - 12/2015
Manfroid, Jean ULg

Article for general public (2015)

VFTS 352 - Une nouvelle composante de laVoie lactée - Érosion de l’atmosphère de Mars - Disque autour d’une naine blanche - Éruption du trou noir Mrk 335 - Comète 67P - Sucre et alcool cométaires ... [more ▼]

VFTS 352 - Une nouvelle composante de laVoie lactée - Érosion de l’atmosphère de Mars - Disque autour d’une naine blanche - Éruption du trou noir Mrk 335 - Comète 67P - Sucre et alcool cométaires - Géantes rouges magnétiques [less ▲]

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See detailPluto's atmosphere from stellar occultations in 2012 and 2013
Dias-Oliveira, Alex; Sicardy, Bruno; Lellouch, Emmanuel et al

in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society (2015, November 01), 47

We present results from two Pluto stellar occultations observed on 18 July 2012 and 04 May 2013, and monitored respectively from five and six sites in South America. Both campaigns involved large ... [more ▼]

We present results from two Pluto stellar occultations observed on 18 July 2012 and 04 May 2013, and monitored respectively from five and six sites in South America. Both campaigns involved large telescopes (including the 8.2-m VLT at ESO/Paranal). The high SNR ratios and multi-chord coverage provide amoung the best Pluto atmospheric profiles ever obtained from the ground.We show that a spherically symmetric, clear (no-haze) and pure N2 atmosphere with a unique temperature profile satisfactorily fits the twelve lightcurves provided by the two events. We find, however, a small but significant increase of pressure of 6% (6-sigma level) between the two dates, with values of 2.16 ± 0.2 and 2.30 ± 0.01 μbar at the reference radius 1275 km, respectively.We provide atmospheric constrains between 1190 km and 1450 km from Pluto's center, and we determine the temperature profile with accuracy of a few km in vertical scale. Our model shows a stratosphere with strong positive gradient between 1190 km (at 36 K, 11 μbar) and r =1215 km (6.0 μbar), where a temperature maximum of 110 K is reached. Above it is a mesosphere with negative thermal gradient of -0.2 K/km up to 1,390 km (0.25 μbar), at which point, the mesosphere connects itself to a more isothermal upper branch at 81 K. This profile provides (assuming no troposphere) a Pluto surface radius of 1190 ± 5 km, consistent with preliminary values obtained by New Horizons. Currently measured CO abundances are too low to explain the negative mesospheric thermal gradient. We explore the possibility of an HCN (recently detected by ALMA) cooling. This model, however, requires largely supersaturated HCN. Zonal winds and vertical compositional variations of the atmosphere are also unable to explain the observed mesospheric trend.These events are the last useful ground-based occultations recorded before the 29 June 2015 occultation observed from Australia and New Zealand, and before the NASA's New Horizons flyby of July 2015. This work can serve as a benchmark in the New Horizons context, enabling comparisons between ground-based and space results concerning Pluto's atmospheric structure and temporal evolution. [less ▲]

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See detailNitrogen Isotopic Ratios in Cometary NH2: Implication for 15N-fractionation in Ammonia
Shinnaka, Yoshiharu; Kawakita, Hideyo; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg et al

in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society (2015, November 01), 47

Isotopic ratios in cometary molecules are diagnostic for the physico-chemical conditions where molecules formed and are processed, from the interstellar medium to the solar nebula. Usually temperatures at ... [more ▼]

Isotopic ratios in cometary molecules are diagnostic for the physico-chemical conditions where molecules formed and are processed, from the interstellar medium to the solar nebula. Usually temperatures at the molecular formation control the fractionation of the heavier element in molecular species, e.g., D-fractionation in water.In cometary volatiles, the [SUP]14[/SUP]N/[SUP]15[/SUP]N ratios in CN have been well observed (Manfroid et al. 2009, A&A, 503, 613, and reference therein) and is consistent with the ratio in HCN (a most probable parent of CN) measured in few comets (Bockelée-Morvan et al. 2008, ApJ, 679, L49). Those ratios are enriched compared to the proto-solar value by a factor of ~3. In contrast to those Nitriles, there are only few reports on [SUP]14[/SUP]N/[SUP]15[/SUP]N ratios in Ammonia (as Amine) (Rousselot et al. 2014, ApJ, 780, L17; Shinnaka et al. 2014, ApJ, 782, L16). Ammonia (NH[SUB]3[/SUB]) is usually the most abundant and HCN is the second most abundant N-bearing volatiles in cometary ice. Especially, recent observations of [SUP]15[/SUP]NH[SUB]2[/SUB] revealed the [SUP]14[/SUP]N/[SUP]15[/SUP]N ratios in NH[SUB]3[/SUB] are comparable to those of CN. However, from the viewpoint of theoretical work, the enrichment of [SUP]15[/SUP]N in cometary NH[SUB]3[/SUB] cannot be reproduced by current chemical network models. Information about the diversity of the [SUP]14[/SUP]N/[SUP]15[/SUP]N ratios in NH[SUB]3[/SUB] of individual comets is needed to understand the formation mechanisms/environments of NH[SUB]3[/SUB] in the early solar system.To clarify the diversity of the [SUP]14[/SUP]N/[SUP]15[/SUP]N ratios in cometary NH[SUB]3[/SUB], we determine the [SUP]14[/SUP]N/[SUP]15[/SUP]N ratios in NH[SUB]3[/SUB] for more than ten comets individually which include not only Oort cloud comets but also short period comets by using the high-resolution optical spectra of NH[SUB]2[/SUB]. These spectra were obtained with both the UVES mounted on the VLT in Chile and the HDS on the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.The derived [SUP]14[/SUP]N/[SUP]15[/SUP]N ratios in NH[SUB]3[/SUB] for more than ten comets show high [SUP]15[/SUP]N-enrichment compared with the elemental abundances of nitrogen in the Sun by about factor of ~3 and has no large diversity depending on these dynamical properties. We discuss about the origin of the formation conditions of cometary NH[SUB]3[/SUB] and its physico-chemical evolution in the solar nebula based on our and other results.This work was supported by JSPS, 15J10864 (Y. Shinnaka). [less ▲]

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See detailFive years of comet narrow band photometry and imaging with TRAPPIST
Opitom, Cyrielle ULg; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Manfroid, Jean ULg et al

in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society (2015, November 01), 47

TRAPPIST is a 60-cm robotic telescope in La Silla Observatory [1] mainly dedicated to the study of exoplanets and comets. The telescope is equipped with a set of narrow band cometary filters designed by ... [more ▼]

TRAPPIST is a 60-cm robotic telescope in La Silla Observatory [1] mainly dedicated to the study of exoplanets and comets. The telescope is equipped with a set of narrow band cometary filters designed by the NASA for the Hale-Bopp observing campaign [2]. Since its installation in 2010, we gathered a high quality and homogeneous data set of more than 30 bright comets observed with narrow band filters. Some comets were only observed for a few days but others have been observed weekly during several months on both sides of perihelion. From the images, we derived OH, NH, CN, C[SUB]2[/SUB], and C[SUB]3[/SUB] production rates using a Haser [3] model in addition to the Afρ parameter as a proxy for the dust production. We computed production rates ratios and the dust color for each comet to study their composition and followed the evolution of these ratios and colors with the heliocentric distance.The TRAPPIST data set, rich of more than 10000 images obtained and reduced in an homogeneous way, allows us to address several fundamental questions such as the pristine or evolutionary origin of composition differences among comets. The evolution of comet activity with the heliocentric distance, the differences between species, and from comet to comet, will be discussed. Finally, the first results about the one year campaign on comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) and our recent work on the re-determination of Haser scalelengths will be presented.[1] Jehin et al., The Messenger, 145, 2-6, 2011[2] Farnham et al., Icarus, 147, 180-204, 2000[3] Haser, Bulletin de l’Académie Royal des Sciences de Belgique,63, 739, 1957 [less ▲]

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See detailJoyaux cosmiques - 11/2015
Manfroid, Jean ULg

Article for general public (2015)

Éclipse double et triple - La galaxie naine du Sculpteur -M17

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See detailL'astronomie dans le monde - 11/2015
Manfroid, Jean ULg

Article for general public (2015)

Jupiter chauds - L’habitabilité des planètesrocheuses - SOHO, la 3000e comète - Io - Anneaux de Saturne - Encelade - L’eau sur Mars - Comète 67P - Pluton - Charon

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See detailJoyaux cosmiques - 10/2015
Manfroid, Jean ULg

Article for general public (2015)

ESO 378-1 - Amas IC 4651 -Recyclage cosmique - M2-9

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