NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2006A-0506

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Proposal Information for 2006A-0506


PI: Michael Mumma, NASA GSFC, mmumma@ssedmail.gsfc.nasa.gov
Address: Solar System Exploration Division, code 690, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA

CoI: Karen Magee-Sauer, Rowan University
CoI: Michael A. DiSanti, NASA GSFC
CoI: Geronimo Villanueva, NASA GSFC
CoI: Avi Mandell, Penn State Univ. at NASA GSFC
CoI: Erika L. Gibb, Univ. of Missouri - St. Louis
CoI: Boncho Bonev, Univ. of Toledo at NASA GSFC

Title: The Volatile Composition of the split ecliptic comet 73P/Schwassman- Wachmann 3.

Abstract: We propose to measure the parent volatile composition of the Jupiter- family comet 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (SW3). This ecliptic comet split in 1995 and the two brightest fragments were still highly productive on its next apparition (2001). In 2006, SW3 will make an unusually close pass to Earth, presenting an excellent opportunity to characterize the internal volatile composition of the pre-split nucleus. Molecular abundances (or sensitive upper-limits) will be measured for species (H2O, CH3OH, CO, H2CO, HCN, CH4, C2H6, C2H2, NH3, and others). We will characterize the oxidation state of volatile carbon and nitriles in SW-3 and compare it with impact ejecta from 9P Tempel-1. The resolving power offered by Phoenix is critical to this study, because it permits quantifying many spectral lines that are NOT resolved at R 20,000. This study will provide an important and unique dataset, for comparing the interior composition of SW3 with that of two other ecliptic comets characterized by us with NIRSPEC (2P Encke and 9P Tempel- 1). This study can only be done at Gemini South with Phoenix.


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