NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010B-0455

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Proposal Information for 2010B-0455


PI: Boncho P. Bonev, The Catholic University of America, bonev@cua.edu
Address: Physics Department, 620 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20064

CoI: Erika L. Gibb, University of Missouri - St. Louis
CoI: Michael A. DiSanti, NASA GSFC
CoI: Geronimo L. Villanueva, The Catholic University of America
CoI: Michael J. Mumma, NASA GSFC
CoI: Yi-Jehng Kuan, National Taiwan Normal University
CoI: Steven B. Charnley, NASA GSFC
CoI: Karen Magee-Sauer, Rowan University
CoI: Michael R. Combi, University of Michigan

Title: Cosmogonic Indicators in the Jupiter-family Comet 103P/Hartley-2: Deuterium Abundance and Nuclear Spin Temperature

Abstract: Using NIRSPEC at Keck-2, we propose sensitive high-resolution observations of the coma of comet 103P/Hartley-2. We will (1) search for HDO and CH_3D, (2) measure the nuclear spin temperature of formaldehyde, and (3) perform spatially resolved measurements of the spin and rotational temperature of water in the coma. These investigations are coordinated with radio observations targeting DCN and HDCO. The proposed program addresses problems of interdisciplinary interest with cosmogonic and astrobiological implications, including the origin of cometary organics and the (widely disputed) question of the deuterium enrichment of cometary water compared with Earth's oceans. The proposed measurements are far from routine: HDO and CH_3D are still to be securely detected in the infrared, while the spin temperature of cometary formaldehyde has not been measured. The close (~0.1 AU from Earth) bright apparition of Hartley-2, coupled with the cross-dispersed capabilities of NIRSPEC, provides a very rare opportunity to conduct deep searches and study these cosmogonic parameters (D/H and spin temperature) in unprecedented detail. The NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Grants program is supporting the proposed studies through award AST-0807939.


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