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Ly α Observations of Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) Using MAVEN IUVS Echelle

Abstract : The close approach of comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) to Mars in 2014 October provided a unique opportunity to observe a dynamically new Oort cloud comet with potential for interaction with a planet's atmosphere. The water-originating hydrogen coma of the comet extended to over 20 million km from the nucleus. Determining the properties of this coma contributes to characterizing the comet's water content and production rate. The present study analyzes a unique data set of high spectral resolution UV observations of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring measured by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft. The Siding Spring observations capture Lyα emissions from the Martian corona, the interplanetary medium, as well as the cometary H and D reservoirs. The isolated cometary spectra are analyzed to reveal a velocity distribution of H atoms that are consistent with model estimates of H2O photodissociated H emissions and of OH photodissociated H emissions, Doppler shifted from the main comet H emission line center by 18 km s−1 and 8 km s−1, respectively. The variations in comet H brightness with distance from the nucleus are used to constrain cometary water production to a rate of 0.5 × 1028 molecules s−1 at a time when Siding Spring was at 1.5 au, pre-perihelion.
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Submitted on : Saturday, July 18, 2020 - 3:39:17 PM
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Majd Mayyasi, John Clarke, Michael Combi, Nicolas Fougere, Eric Quémerais, et al.. Ly α Observations of Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) Using MAVEN IUVS Echelle. Astronomical Journal, American Astronomical Society, 2020, 160 (1), pp.10. ⟨10.3847/1538-3881/ab8f96⟩. ⟨insu-02902252⟩



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