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The composition and size distribution of the dust in the coma of comet Hale-Bopp

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Monday, August 22, 2005

Astrophysics, abstract
astro-ph/0505603

From: Michiel Min [view email]
Date: Mon, 30 May 2005 16:26:58 GMT   (81kb)
The composition and size distribution of the dust in the coma of comet Hale-Bopp
Authors: M. Min, J. W. Hovenier, A. de Koter, L. B. F. M. Waters, C. Dominik
Comments: Accepted for publication in Icarus
We discuss the composition and size distribution of the dust in the coma of comet Hale-Bopp. We do this by fitting simultaneously the infrared emission spectrum measured by the infrared space observatory (ISO) and the measured degree of linear polarization of scattered light at various phase angles and 12 different wavelengths. The effects of particle shape on the modeled optical properties of the dust grains are taken into account. We constrain our fit by forcing the abundances of the major rock forming chemical elements to be solar. The infrared spectrum at long wavelengths reveals that large grains are needed in order to fit the spectral slope. The size and shape distribution we employ allows us to estimate the sizes of the crystalline silicates. The ratios of the strength of various forsterite features show that the crystalline silicate grains in Hale-Bopp must be submicron sized. We exclude the presence of large crystalline silicate grains in the coma. Because of this lack of large crystalline grains combined with the fact that we do need large amorphous grains to fit the emission spectrum at long wavelengths, we need only approximately 4% of crystalline silicates by mass. After correcting for possible hidden crystalline material included in large amorphous grains, our best estimate of the total mass fraction of crystalline material is approximately 7.5%, significantly lower than deduced in previous studies in which the typical derived crystallinity is 20-30%. The implications of this on the possible origin and evolution of the comet are discussed. The crystallinity we observe in Hale-Bopp is consistent with the production of crystalline silicates in the inner solar system by thermal annealing and subsequent radial mixing to the comet forming region.
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