Present and Future Cometary Science with the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer
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Interferometric observations are essential to probe the molecular emission in the inner cometary atmospheres and study the outgassing from the nucleus. Mapping the continuum emission can provide information about the dust and/or nucleus properties. We present here a summary of the observations of the dust and gas coma of comet 17P/Holmes and nuclear observations of 8P/Tuttle, both carried out with the IRAM interferometer at Plateau de Bure (PdBI) in 2007–2008. The observations of these two comets demonstrate the ability of the PdBI in terms of cometary science. In the near future, several improvements will be made (new receivers at 0.8 mm, a new wide-band correlator) allowing more frequent and more detailed studies of comets. On the long term, NOEMA, an expansion project, may add up to six antennas to the Plateau de Bure Interferometer, and increase the baseline lengths. Such an instrument would offer a complement to ALMA to track comets of the northern hemisphere with about half the sensitivity of ALMA for continuum studies.
KeywordsComets Radio lines and continuum: Solar System Techniques: interferometry
IRAM is supported by INSU/CNRS (France), MPG (Germany) and IGN (Spain).
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