From Interstellar Dust to Comets: Distributed Co in Comet Halley

  • J. Mayo Greenberg
  • Aigen Li
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 227)


Some simple molecules in comet comae like CO, C2, C3, CN, H2CO, 3 + appear to be distributed in such a way that they are neither directly emitted from the nucleus surface nor created as daughter molecules from more complex gas phase species. The only remaining possible source is the organic component in comet dust. The requirements imposed on the comet dust grains by the distributed CO emission are that they be heated sufficiently to evaporate a large fraction of the more volatile fraction of the complex organic refractory molecules and that a large fraction of these contain CO groups. Approximating the size (mass) distribution of the comet dust by that derived for Comet Halley, and assuming that the refractory organics remaining on the silicate cores are the heating agent by solar radiation in fluffy aggregates of interstellar core-mantle particles, imposes a minimum dust porosity of 0.975 ≤ P ≤ 0.99. Such porosities are consistent with those required to account for the silicate and organic spectral emission by Comet Halley dust and imply comet nucleus densities of p < 0.3 gcm −3.


Interstellar Medium Interstellar Dust Dust Mass Comet Dust Dust Temperature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Mayo Greenberg
    • 1
  • Aigen Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory AstrophysicsUniversity of LeidenLeidenNetherlands

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