First in-situ detection of the cometary ammonium ion NH4+ (protonated ammonia NH3 ) in the coma of 67P/C-G near perihelion

Abstract : In this paper, we report the first in-situ detection of the ammonium ion NH4+ at 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G) in a cometary coma, using the Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) / Double Focusing Mass Spectrometer (DFMS). Unlike neutral and ion spectrometers onboard previous cometary missions, the ROSINA/DFMS spectrometer, when operated in ion mode, offers the capability to distinguish NH4+ from H2O+ in a cometary coma. We present here the ion data analysis of mass-to-charge ratios 18 and 19 at high spectral resolution and compare the results with an ionospheric model to put the these results into context. The model confirms that the ammonium ion NH4+ is one of the most abundant ion species, as predicted, in the coma near perihelion.
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Submitted on : Friday, January 6, 2017 - 11:31:39 AM
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Arnaud Beth, Kathrin Altwegg, Hans Balsiger, Jean-Jacques Berthelier, Ursina Calmonte, et al.. First in-situ detection of the cometary ammonium ion NH4+ (protonated ammonia NH3 ) in the coma of 67P/C-G near perihelion. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy P - Oxford Open Option A, 2016, 462 (Suppl_1), pp.S562-S572. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stw3370⟩. ⟨insu-01427998⟩

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