NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011B-0184

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Proposal Information for 2011B-0184


PI: Neil Dello Russo, The Johns Hopkins University, Neil.Dello.Russo@jhuapl.edu
Address: Applied Physics Laboratory, 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, Laurel, MD 20723-6099, USA

CoI: Ronald J. Vervack Jr., JHU/Applied Physics Laboratory
CoI: Harold Weaver, JHU/Applied Physics Laboratory
CoI: Hideyo Kawakita, Kyoto-Sangyo University
CoI: Hitomi Kobayashi, Kyoto-Sangyo University
CoI: Anita Cochran, University of Texas at Austin
CoI: Walter Harris, University of California at Davis
CoI: Adam McKay, New Mexico State University
CoI: Nicolas Biver, Observatoire de Paris - Meudon
CoI: Dominique Bockelee-Morvan, Observatoire de Paris - Meudon
CoI: Jacques Crovisier, Observatoire de Paris - Meudon

Title: Determining the volatile chemistry of comet C/2010 X1 Elenin

Abstract: We propose to use NIRSPEC at Keck 2 to measure the chemical composition of C/2010 X1 Elenin. High-resolution infrared spectroscopy with NIRSPEC has proven to be an extremely efficient and sensitive means of detecting volatile species in comets. We will observe Elenin when its geocentric velocity is sufficient to target hypervolatiles CO and CH_\rm 4, while also sampling H_\rm 2O, CH_\rm 3OH, H_\rm 2CO, C_\rm 2H_\rm 6, HCN, C_\rm 2H_\rm 2 and NH_\rm 3. Comets are the least-processed remnants from the birth of the solar system, making the determination of their composition essential in understanding the formation and evolution of volatile material within our solar system. Determining and comparing the volatile chemistry of comets is central to our ongoing observing program, and semester 2011B provides an excellent opportunity to determine the volatile chemistry of a long-period comet from the Oort cloud. Collecting high-resolution spectral data on comets at infrared wavelengths is a crucial step in the development of a chemical taxonomy of comets based on parent volatile composition.


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