A new study from the University of Central Florida has found strong support that the evaporation of molecules from comets could be the result of the early composition of our solar system.
The results were published today on The Planetary Science Journal.
The study was led by Olga Harrington Pinto, a doctoral candidate in the UCF Department of Physics, part of the College of Science.
Measuring the proportion of certain molecules present after gases are ejected from comets can provide insights into the chemical composition of early solar systems and the physical processing of comets after they formed, says Harrington Pinto. Venting is when comets, which are small bodies of dust, rock and ice in the solar system, heat up and begin to release gases.
As part of her dissertation research, Harrington Pinto collected the amounts of water, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide gases from 25 comets to test predictions about the formation and evolution of the solar system.
This allowed nearly twice as much carbon monoxide/carbon dioxide data from comets to be studied. The measurements were taken from a variety of scientific publications. He carefully combined the data obtained by different telescopes and different research groups when the measurements were simultaneous, and he could confirm that all the data were well calibrated.
“One of the most interesting results is that comets far from the sun with orbits in the Oort cloud that have never, or only rarely, orbited the sun appeared to produce more CO2 from CO in their coma, while comets that have made many more trips close to the Sun behave the opposite,” says Harrington Pinto. “This has never been seen definitively before.”
“Interestingly, the data are consistent with predictions that comets that were far from the sun in the Oort cloud may have been bombarded by cosmic rays on their surface so much that it created a CO-depleted outer layer,” Harrington said. Pinto. says. “Then, after their first or second trip close to the sun, this processed outer layer is ejected from the sun revealing a much more pristine cometary composition that releases much more CO.”
The researcher says the next step for the work is to analyze the first centaur observations her team made with the James Webb Space Telescope to directly measure carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and compare the results with this study .
Harrington Pinto received her Master of Science in physics from the University of South Florida. She worked on this study with Maria Womack, a politeness professor at UCF. Yanga R. Fernandez, professor at UCF. and James Bauer, a professor at the University of Maryland.
New study of comets provides insight into chemical composition of early solar system The Planetary Science Journal (2022). DOI: 10.3847/PSJ/ac960d
Provided by the University of Central Florida
Reference: New comet study provides insight into chemical composition of early solar system (2022 November 4) Retrieved November 5, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-11-comets-insight-chemical-composition- early.html
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