Time variability and heterogeneity in the coma of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Myrtha Hässig 1, 2 K. Altwegg 3, 2 H. Balsiger 2 A. Bar-Nun 4 Jean-Jacques Berthelier 5 Andre Bieler 2, 6 P. Bochsler 2 Christelle Briois 7 U. Calmonte 2 M. Combi 6 J. de Keyser 8, 9 P. Eberhardt 2 B. Fiethe 10 S. A. Fuselier 11 M. Galand 12 S. Gasc 2 Tamas I. Gombosi 6 K. C. Hansen 6 A. Jäckel 2 H.U. Keller 13, 14 Ernest Kopp 2 Axel Korth 15 Ekkerhard Kührt 13 Léna Le Roy 3 U. Mall 15 Bernard Marty 16 Olivier Mousis 17 Eddy Neefs 9 Tobias Owen 18 Henri Rème 19 Martin Rubin 2 T. Sémon 2 C. Tornow 13 C.- Y. Tzou 2 J. H. Waite 1 P. Wurz 2
Abstract : Comets contain the best-preserved material from the very beginning of our planetary system. Their nuclei and comae composition reveal clues about physical and chemical conditions during the early Solar system when comets formed. ROSINA/DFMS (Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis / Double Focusing Mass Spectrometer) onboard the Rosetta spacecraft has measured the coma composition of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P) with excellent time resolution and compositional detail. Measurements were made over many comet rotation periods and a wide range of latitudes. These measurements show large fluctuations in composition in a heterogeneous coma that has diurnal and possibly seasonal variations in the major outgassing species: H2O, CO, and CO2. These results indicate a complex coma-nucleus relationship where seasonal variations may be driven by temperature differences near the comet surface.
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Myrtha Hässig, K. Altwegg, H. Balsiger, A. Bar-Nun, Jean-Jacques Berthelier, et al.. Time variability and heterogeneity in the coma of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2015, 347 (6220), ⟨10.1126/science.aaa0276⟩. ⟨hal-01346055⟩

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