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Spectroscopic evidence for interstellar ices in comet Hyakutake

Irvine, William M. and Bockelée-Morvan, Dominique and Lis, Dariusz C. and Matthews, Henry E. and Biver, Nicholas and Crosivier, Jacques and Davies, John K. and Dent, William R. F. and Gautier, Daniel and Godfrey, Peter D. and Keene, Jocelyn and Lovell, Amy J. and Owen, Tobias C. and Phillips, Thomas G. and Rauer, Heike and Schloerb, F. Peter and Senay, Matthew and Young, Kenneth (1996) Spectroscopic evidence for interstellar ices in comet Hyakutake. Nature, 386 (6699). pp. 418-420. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/383418a0.

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VOLATILE compounds in comets are the most pristine materials surviving from the time of formation of the Solar System, and thus potentially provide information about conditions that prevailed in the primitive solar nebula. Moreover, comets may have supplied a substantial fraction of the volatiles on the terrestrial planets, perhaps including organic compounds that played a role in the origin of life on Earth. Here we report the detection of hydrogen isocyanide (HNC) in comet Hyakutake. The abundance of HNC relative to hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is very similar to that observed in quiescent interstellar molecular clouds, and quite different from the equilibrium ratio expected in the outermost solar nebula, where comets are thought to form. Such a departure from equilibrium has long been considered a hallmark of gas-phase chemical processing in the interstellar medium, suggesting that interstellar gases have been incorporated into the comet's nucleus, perhaps as ices frozen onto interstellar grains. If this interpretation is correct, our results should provide constraints on the temperature of the solar nebula, and the subsequent chemical processes that occurred in the region where comets formed.

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Lis, Dariusz C.0000-0002-0500-4700
Additional Information:© 1996 Nature Publishing Group. Received 17 June; accepted 27 August 1996. We thank D. Yeomans of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the IAU Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams for rapidly providing us with the best available cometary elements, and the staff at the JCMT and the CSO for their assistance with the observations. This work was partly supported by the Programme National de Planetologie of the lnstitut National des Sciences de l'Univers, the French Centre National de la Rechereche Scientifique, the NSF and NASA.
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Programme National de Planetologie (PNP)UNSPECIFIED
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Institut national des sciences de l'Univers (INSU)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6699
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150617-105508633
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Official Citation:Spectroscopic evidence for interstellar ices in comet Hyakutake 418 William M. Irvine, Dominique Bockelee-Morvan, Dariusz C. Lis, Henry E. Matthews, Nicolas Biver, Jacques Crovisier, John K. Davies, William R. F. Dent, Daniel Gautier, Peter D. Godfrey, Jocelyn Keene, Amy J. Lovell, Tobias C. Owen, Thomas G. Phillips, Heike Rauer, F. Peter Schloerb, Matthew Senay & Kenneth Young doi:10.1038/383418a0
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:58320
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:17 Jun 2015 18:42
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 22:03

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