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Journal Articles Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Year : 2017

Diffuse interstellar bands carriers and cometary organic material

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Jean-Loup Bertaux
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Abstract

We suggest that the large organic molecules found in the dust of comet 67P/CG originated from the interstellar medium (ISM), and that this material is the source of absorption features in stellar spectra known as diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs). These large organic molecules were present in the ISM prior to the emergence of the pre-solar nebula and were conserved during comet formation in the solar nebula due to gentle, hierarchical accretion, a scenario based on many lines of evidences collected with Rosetta rendezvous mission (Davidsson et al. 2016). This is in contrast with the sublimation of H2O ice, according to diverse comet D/H values. While the organic to mineral mass ratios RC for comet Halley and 67P/CG were measured in the range ∼0.32–1.0, we estimate that the DIB carriers alone can provide RISM = 0.32, but that this ratio could be increased by other organic molecules in the ISM that do not show up in absorption. The decrease of DIB during line-of-sight crossings of the dense cores of interstellar clouds and the simultaneous steepening of the far-UV part of the reddening curve suggest that DIB carriers coagulate and are constituent of the very small grains eventually preserved in comets. This conclusion implies that a future sample-return mission of a comet nucleus would not only provide unique information on comets, but also on the exact nature of the interstellar species producing the hundreds of DIBs, an unanswered question since their discovery several decades ago.
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Dates and versions

insu-01640976 , version 1 (14-12-2020)

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Jean-Loup Bertaux, Rosine Lallement. Diffuse interstellar bands carriers and cometary organic material. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2017, 469 (Suppl_2), pp.S646 - S660. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stx2231⟩. ⟨insu-01640976⟩
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