A Caltech Library Service

Chemical Composition Diversity Among 24 Comets Observed At Radio Wavelengths

Biver, Nicolas and Bockelée-Morvan, Dominique and Crovisier, Jacques and Colom, Pierre and Henry, Florence and Moreno, Raphaël and Paubert, Gabriel and Despois, Didier and Lis, Dariusz C. (2002) Chemical Composition Diversity Among 24 Comets Observed At Radio Wavelengths. Earth, Moon, and Planets, 90 (1-4). pp. 323-333. ISSN 0167-9295. doi:10.1023/a:1021530316352.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We present a comparative study on molecular abundances in comets based on millimetre/submillimetre observations made with the IRAM 30-m, JCMT, CSO and SEST telescopes. This study concerns a sample of 24comets (6 Jupiter-family, 3 Halley-family, 15 long-period) observed from 1986 to 2001 and 8 molecular species (HCN, HNC, CH₃CN,CH₃OH, H₂CO, CO, CS, H₂S). HCN was detected in all comets, while at least 2 molecules were detected in 19 comets. From the sub-sample of comets for which contemporary H₂O production rates are available, we infer that the HCN abundance relative to water varies from 0.08% to 0.25%. With respect to other species, HCN is the molecule which exhibits the lowest abundance variation from comet to comet. Therefore, production rates relative to that of HCN can be used for a comparative study of molecular abundances in the 19 comets. It is found that: CH₃OH/HCN varies from ≤ 9 to 64; CO/HCN varies from ≤ 24 to 180; H₂CO/HCN varies between 1.6 and 10; and H₂S/HCN varies between 1.5 and 7.6. This study does not show any clear correlation between the relative abundances and the dynamical origins of the comets, or their dust-to-gas ratios.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Readcube Access
Lis, Dariusz C.0000-0002-0500-4700
Additional Information:© 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Received 21 March 2002; Accepted 19 May 2002. We are grateful to the IRAM, JCMT, CSO and SEST staff and other observers for their assistance during the observations. IRAM is an international institute cofunded by the CNRS, the Max Planck Gesellschaft and the Instituto Geografico Nacional, Spain. The JCMT is operated in behalf of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, and the National Research Council of Canada. The CSO is supported by National Science Foundation grant AST 99-80846. The SEST is operated jointly by the Swedish National Facility for Radio Astronomy, and by the European Southern Observatory.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Max Planck GesellschaftUNSPECIFIED
Instituto Geografico Nacional (IGN)UNSPECIFIED
Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC)UNSPECIFIED
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)UNSPECIFIED
National Research Council of CanadaUNSPECIFIED
NSFAST 99-80846
Subject Keywords:Comets; molecules; radio observations
Issue or Number:1-4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200330-074440979
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Biver, N., Bockelée-Morvan, D., Crovisier, J. et al. Chemical Composition Diversity Among 24 Comets Observed At Radio Wavelengths. Earth Moon Planet 90, 323–333 (2002).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:102162
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:30 Mar 2020 15:38
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:09

Repository Staff Only: item control page