, Volume 105, Issue 2-4, pp 343-349
Date: 30 May 2009

A Multi-Wavelength Simultaneous Study of the Composition of the Halley Family Comet 8P/Tuttle

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Abstract

We report on simultaneous optical and infrared observations of the Halley Family comet 8P/Tuttle performed with the ESO Very Large Telescope. Such multi-wavelength and coordinated observations are a good example of what can be done to support space missions. From high resolution optical spectroscopy of the CN (0,0) 388 nm and NH2 (0,9,0) 610 nm bands using UVES at UT2 we determined 12C/13C = 90 ± 10 and 14N/15N = 150 ± 20 in CN and we derived a nuclear spin temperature of NH3 of 29 ± 1 K. These values are similar to those found in Oort-Cloud and Jupiter Family comets. From low resolution long slit spectroscopy with FORS1 at UT2 we determined the CN, C3 and C2 production rates and the parent and daughter scale lengths up to 5.2 105 km tailward. From high resolution IR spectroscopy with CRIRES at UT1 we measured simultaneously the production rates and mixing ratios of H2O, HCN, C2H2, CH4, C2H6, and CH3OH.

Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Paranal, Chile (ESO Prog. 080.C-0615 and 280.C-5053).