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Author Mousis, O. ♦ Ronnet, T. ♦ Ozgurel, O. ♦ Pauzat, F. ♦ Markovits, A. ♦ Ellinger, Y. ♦ Lunine, J. I. ♦ Luspay-Kuti, A.
Source United States Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information
Content type Text
Language English
Subject Keyword INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY ♦ ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY ♦ BINDING ENERGY ♦ COMETS ♦ COSMIC RADIATION ♦ COSMIC RAY FLUX ♦ DENSITY ♦ HYDROGEN SULFIDES ♦ ICE ♦ LIFETIME ♦ MOLECULES ♦ NEBULAE ♦ PHOTOLYSIS ♦ PROTOSTARS ♦ RADIOLYSIS ♦ SPACE ♦ SULFUR ♦ VAPORS
Abstract S{sub 2} has been observed for decades in comets, including comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Despite the fact that this molecule appears ubiquitous in these bodies, the nature of its source remains unknown. In this study, we assume that S{sub 2} is formed by irradiation (photolysis and/or radiolysis) of S-bearing molecules embedded in the icy grain precursors of comets and that the cosmic ray flux simultaneously creates voids in ices within which the produced molecules can accumulate. We investigate the stability of S{sub 2} molecules in such cavities, assuming that the surrounding ice is made of H{sub 2}S or H{sub 2}O. We show that the stabilization energy of S{sub 2} molecules in such voids is close to that of the H{sub 2}O ice binding energy, implying that they can only leave the icy matrix when this latter sublimates. Because S{sub 2} has a short lifetime in the vapor phase, we derive that its formation in grains via irradiation must occur only in low-density environments such as the ISM or the upper layers of the protosolar nebula, where the local temperature is extremely low. In the first case, comets would have agglomerated from icy grains that remained pristine when entering the nebula. In the second case, comets would have agglomerated from icy grains condensed in the protosolar nebula and that would have been efficiently irradiated during their turbulent transport toward the upper layers of the disk. Both scenarios are found consistent with the presence of molecular oxygen in comets.
ISSN 0004637X
Educational Use Research
Learning Resource Type Article
Publisher Date 2017-02-01
Publisher Place United States
Journal Astrophysical Journal
Volume Number 835
Issue Number 2


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