NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0379

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Proposal Information for 2014A-0379


PI: Boncho P Bonev, Catholic U. of America / NASA GSFC, bonev@cua.edu
Address: mailstop 690.3, 8801 Greenbelt Rd, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA

CoI: Michael DiSanti, NASA GSFC
CoI: Michael Mumma, NASA GSFC
CoI: Erika Gibb, UMSL
CoI: Geronimo Villanueva, Catholic U. of America / NASA GSFC
CoI: Lucas Paganini, Catholic U. of America / NASA GSFC
CoI: Michael Combi, University of Michigan
CoI: Karen Magee-Sauer, Rowan University

Title: Comet 209P/LINEAR's Very Close Approach to Earth: Probing the Inner-Coma Physical Environment and Volatile Composition

Abstract: Using NIRSPEC at Keck 2 we propose spatially-resolved high- resolution spectroscopic observations of H_2O emission in the coma of the Jupiter-family comet 209P/LINEAR. The exceptionally small geocentric distance - 0.06 AU - will afford very high spatial resolution. Using long-slit spectroscopy we will measure the spatial variation of the temperature and column density of water, providing a very rare direct quantitative view of the physical state in the innermost region of a cometary atmosphere, within 50-100 km from the nucleus. To maximize the science return, we will also measure the abundances of CH_3OH and C_2H_6 simultaneously with H_2O. Only one instrument setting is required for our entire investigation, thereby optimizing observing efficiency. Our proposed study targets improved understanding of the near-nucleus coma physics, and of the primary volatile composition of Jupiter-family comets, a dynamical group which remains underrepresented in modern taxonomical studies. In addition, this project will provide a context for interpreting results from the \it Rosetta mission, and also a test of state-of-the-art physical models of the coma.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0379

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