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Nitrogen abundance in Comet Halley

Wyckoff, Susan and Tegler, Stephen C. and Engel, Lisa (1991) Nitrogen abundance in Comet Halley. The Astrophysical Journal, 367. p. 641. ISSN 1538-4357


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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/169659


Data on the nitrogen-containing compounds that observed spectroscopically in the coma of Comet Halley are summarized, and the elemental abundance of nitrogen in the Comet Halley nucleus is derived. It is found that 90 percent of elemental nitrogen is in the dust fraction of the coma, while in the gas fraction, most of the nitrogen is contained in NH3 and CN. The elemental nitrogen abundance in the ice component of the nucleus was found to be deficient by a factor of about 75, relative to the solar photosphere, indicating that the chemical partitioning of N2 into NH3 and other nitrogen compounds during the evolution of the solar nebula cannot account completely for the low abundance ratio N2/NH3 = 0.1, observed in the comet. It is suggested that the low N2/NH3 ratio in Comet Halley may be explained simply by physical fractionation and/or thermal diffusion.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: no statement or CC license seen
ID number or DOI: 10.1086/169659
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > Physics and Astronomy
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2017 19:02
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/1844

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