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The CO2 Abundance in Comets C2012 K1 (PanSTARRS), C2012 K5 (LINEAR), and 290P Jager as Measured with SpitzerCarbon dioxide is one of the most abundant ices present in comets and is therefore important for understanding cometary composition and activity. We present analysis of observations of CO2 and [O I] emission in three comets to measure the CO2 abundance and evaluate the possibility of employing observations of [O I] emission in comets as a proxy for CO2. We obtained NIR imaging sensitive to CO2 of comets C/2012 K1 (PanSTARRS), C/2012 K5 (LINEAR), and 290P/Jager with the IRAC instrument on Spitzer. We acquired observations of [O I] emission in these comets with the ARCES echelle spectrometer mounted on the 3.5-m telescope at Apache Point Observatory and observations of OH with the Swift observatory (PanSTARRS) and with Keck HIRES (Jager). The CO2/H2O ratios derived from the Spitzer images are 12.6 +/- 1.3% (PanSTARRS), 28.9 +/- 3.6% (LINEAR), and 31.3 +/- 4.2% (Jager). These abundances are derived under the assumption that contamination from CO emission is negligible. The CO2 abundance for PanSTARRS is close to the average abundance measured in comets at similar heliocentric distance to date, while the abundances measured for LINEAR and Jager are significantly larger than the average abundance. From the coma morphology observed in PanSTARRS and the assumed gas expansion velocity, we derive a rotation period for the nucleus of about 9.2 h. Comparison of H2O production rates derived from ARCES and Swift data, as well as other observations, suggest the possibility of sublimation from icy grains in the inner coma. We evaluate the possibility that the [O I] emission can be employed as a proxy for CO2 by comparing CO2/H2O ratios inferred from the [O I] lines to those measured directly by Spitzer. We find that for PanSTARRS we can reproduce the observed CO2 abundance to an accuracy of approximately 20%. For LINEAR and Jager, we were only able to obtain upper limits on the CO2 abundance inferred from the [O I] lines. These upper limits are consistent with the CO2 abundances measured by Spitzer.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
McKay, Adam J. (Texas Univ. Austin, TX, United States)
Kelley, Michael S.P. (Maryland Univ. College Park, MD, United States)
Cochran, Anita L. (Texas Univ. Austin, TX, United States)
Bodewits, Dennis (Maryland Univ. College Park, MD, United States)
DiSanti, Michael A. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Dello Russo, Neil (Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Lisse, Carey M. (Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
March 17, 2017
Publication Date
November 11, 2015
Publication Information
Publication: Icarus
Volume: 266
ISSN: 0019-1035
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
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