Posts Tagged water ice

Recent Postings from water ice

The Effect of Planets Beyond the Ice Line on the Accretion of Volatiles by Habitable-Zone Rocky Planets

Models of planet formation have shown that giant planets have a large impact on the number, masses and orbits of terrestrial planets that form. In addition, they play an important role in delivering volatiles from material that formed exterior to the snow-line (the region in the disk beyond which water ice can condense) to the inner region of the disk where terrestrial planets can maintain liquid water on their surfaces. We present simulations of the late stages of terrestrial planet formation from a disk of protoplanets around a solar-type star, and we include a massive planet (from 1 Earth mass to 1 Jupiter mass) in Jupiter’s orbit at ~5.2 AU in all but one set of simulations. Two initial disk models are examined with the same mass distribution and total initial water content, but with different distributions of water content. We compare the accretion rates and final water mass fraction of the planets that form. Remarkably, all of the planets that formed in our simulations without giant planets were water-rich, showing that giant planet companions are not required to deliver volatiles to terrestrial planets in the habitable zone. In contrast, an outer planet at least several times the mass of Earth may be needed to clear distant regions from debris truncating the epoch of frequent large impacts. Observations of exoplanets from radial velocity surveys suggest that outer Jupiter-like planets may be scarce, therefore the results presented here suggest the number of habitable planets that reside in our galaxy may be more than previously thought.

Water and methanol in low-mass protostellar outflows: gas-phase synthesis, ice sputtering and destruction

Water in outflows from protostars originates either as a result of gas-phase synthesis from atomic oxygen at T > 200 K, or from sputtered ice mantles containing water ice. We aim to quantify the contribution of the two mechanisms that lead to water in outflows, by comparing observations of gas-phase water to methanol (a grain surface product) towards three low-mass protostars in NGC1333. In doing so, we also quantify the amount of methanol destroyed in outflows. To do this, we make use of JCMT and Herschel-HIFI data of H2O, CH3OH and CO emission lines and compare them to RADEX non-LTE excitation simulations. We find up to one order of magnitude decrease in the column density ratio of CH3OH over H2O as the velocity increases in the line wings up to ~15 km/s. An independent decrease in X(CH3OH) with respect to CO of up to one order of magnitude is also found in these objects. We conclude that gas-phase formation of H2O must be active at high velocities (above 10 km/s, relative to the source velocity) to re-form the water destroyed during sputtering. In addition, the transition from sputtered water at low velocities to formed water at high velocities must be gradual. We place an upper limit of two orders of magnitude on the destruction of methanol by sputtering effects.

Multi-Wavelength Observations of Comet C/2011 L4 (Pan-Starrs)

Dynamically new comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) is one of the brightest comets since the great comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp). Here, we present our multi-wavelength observations of C/2011 L4 during its in-bound passage to the inner Solar system. A strong absorption band of water ice at 2.0 $\mu$m was detected in the near infrared spectra, taken with the 8-m Gemini-North and 3-m IRTF telescopes. The companion 1.5 $\mu$m band of water ice, however, was not observed. Spectral modeling show that the absence of the 1.5 $\mu$m feature can be explained by the presence of sub-micron-sized fine ice grains. No gas lines (i.e. CN, HCN or CO) were observed pre-perihelion either in the optical or in the sub-millimeter. 3-$\sigma$ upper limits to the CN and CO production rates were derived. The comet exhibited a very strong continuum in the optical and its slope seemed to become redder as the comet approached the Sun. Our observations suggest that C/2011 L4 is an unusually dust-rich comet with a dust-to-gas mass ratio $>$ 4.

The Phases of Water Ice in the Solar Nebula

Understanding the phases of water ice that were present in the solar nebula has implications for understanding cometary and planetary compositions as well as internal evolution of these bodies. Here we show that amorphous ice formed more readily than previously recognized, with formation at temperatures <70 K being possible under protoplanetary disk conditions. We further argue that photodesorption and freeze-out of water molecules near the surface layers of the solar nebula would have provided the conditions needed for amorphous ice to form. This processing would be a natural consequence of ice dynamics, and would allow for the trapping of noble gases and other volatiles in water ice in the outer solar nebula.

Quantum tunneling of oxygen atoms on very cold surfaces [Cross-Listing]

Any evolving system can change of state via thermal mechanisms (hopping a barrier) or via quantum tunneling. Most of the time, efficient classical mechanisms dominate at high temperatures. This is why an increase of the temperature can initiate the chemistry. We present here an experimental investigation of O-atom diffusion and reactivity on water ice. We explore the 6-25 K temperature range at sub-monolayer surface coverages. We derive the diffusion temperature law and observe the transition from quantum to classical diffusion. Despite of the high mass of O, quantum tunneling is efficient even at 6 K. As a consequence, the solid-state astrochemistry of cold regions should be reconsidered and should include the possibility of forming larger organic molecules than previously expected.

CRISM south polar mapping: First Mars year of observations

We report on mapping of the south polar region of Mars using data from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) instrument. Our observations have led to the following discoveries: 1. Water ice is present in the form of pole-circling clouds originating from the circum-Hellas region, beginning prior to Ls=162 and diminishing markedly at Ls=200-204. 2. It has previously been inferred by temperature measurements(Titus et al., 2003) and CO2-H2O mixture spectral models (Langevin et al., 2007) that surface water ice was present in the Cryptic Region in the final stages of sublimation. The high resolution of CRISM has revealed regions where only water ice is present (not a CO2-H2O ice mixture). This water ice disappears completely by Ls=252 and may be the source of water vapor observed by CRISM in southern latitudes between Ls=240-260 (Smith, et al., this issue). 3. We have estimated surface CO2 ice grain size distributions for the South Pole Residual Cap (SPRC) and the seasonal CO2 ice cap that covers it throughout summer spring and summer. Our analysis suggests that grain sizes peak at Ls=191-199 with an apparent grain size of ~7 +/-1 cm. By the end of the summer period our analysis demonstrates minimum apparent grain sizes of ~5 +/-1 mm predominate in the SPRC. 4. Fine grained CO2 ice condenses from Ls=0-40, and extends symmetrically away from the geographic pole, extending beyond 80 deg S by Ls=4-10. No evidence for unusual CO2 depositional processes in the Cryptic Region is observed up to Ls=16.

Louth Crater: Evolution of a layered water ice mound

We report on observations made of the ~36km diameter crater, Louth, in the north polar region of Mars (at 70{\deg}N, 103.2{\deg}E). High-resolution imagery from the instruments on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft has been used to map a 15km diameter water ice deposit in the center of the crater. The water ice mound has surface features that include roughened ice textures and layering similar to that found in the North Polar Layered Deposits. Features we interpret as sastrugi and sand dunes show consistent wind patterns within Louth over recent time. CRISM spectra of the ice mound were modeled to derive quantitative estimates of water ice and contaminant abundance, and associated ice grain size information. These morphologic and spectral results are used to propose a stratigraphy for this deposit and adjoining sand dunes. Our results suggest the edge of the water ice mound is currently in retreat.

Rotationally resolved spectroscopy of (20000) Varuna in the near-infrared

Models of the escape and retention of volatiles by minor icy objects exclude any presence of volatile ices on the surface of TNOs smaller than ~1000km in diameter at the typical temperature in this region of the solar system, whereas the same models show that water ice is stable on the surface of objects over a wide range of diameters. Collisions and cometary activity have been used to explain the process of surface refreshing of TNOs and Centaurs. These processes can produce surface heterogeneity that can be studied by collecting information at different rotational phases. The aims of this work are to study the surface composition of (20000)Varuna, a TNO with a diameter ~650km and to search for indications of rotational variability. We observed Varuna during two consecutive nights in January 2011 with NICS@TNG obtaining a set of spectra covering the whole rotation period of Varuna. After studying the spectra corresponding to different rotational phases, we did not find any indication of surface variability. In all the spectra, we detect an absorption at 2{\mu}m, suggesting the presence of water ice on the surface. We do not detect any other volatiles on the surface, although the S/N is not high enough to discard their presence. Based on scattering models, we present two possible compositions compatible with our set of data and discuss their implications in the frame of the collisional history of the Kuiper Belt. We find that the most probable composition for the surface of Varuna is a mixture of amorphous silicates, complex organics, and water ice. This composition is compatible with all the materials being primordial. However, our data can also be fitted by models containing up to a 10% of methane ice. For an object with the characteristics of Varuna, this volatile could not be primordial, so an event, such as an energetic impact, would be needed to explain its presence on the surface.

Survival of water ice in Jupiter Trojans

Jupiter Trojans appear to be a key population of small bodies to study and test the models of the Solar System formation and evolution. Because understanding the evolution of Trojans can bring strong and unique constraints on the origins of our planetary system, a significant observational effort has been undertaken to unveil their physical characteristics. The data gathered so far are consistent with Trojans having volatile-rich interiors (possibly water ice) and volatile-poor surfaces (fine grained silicates). Since water ice is not thermodynamically stable against sublimation at the surface of an object located at ~5 AU, such layering seems consistent with past outgassing. In this work, we study the thermal history of Trojans after the formation of a dust mantle by possible past outgassing, so as to constrain the depth at which water ice could be stable. We find that it could have survived 100 m below the surface, even if Trojans orbited close to the Sun for ~10,000 years, as suggested by the most recent dynamical models. Water ice should be found ~10 m below the surface in most cases, and below 10 cm in the polar regions in some cases.

Dynamics of CO in Amorphous Water Ice Environments

The long-timescale behavior of adsorbed carbon monoxide on the surface of amorphous water ice is studied under dense cloud conditions by means of off-lattice, on-the-fly, kinetic Monte Carlo simula- tions. It is found that the CO mobility is strongly influenced by the morphology of the ice substrate. Nanopores on the surface provide strong binding sites which can effectively immobilize the adsorbates at low coverage. As the coverage increases, these strong binding sites are gradually occupied leav- ing a number of admolecules with the ability to diffuse over the surface. Binding energies, and the energy barrier for diffusion are extracted for various coverages. Additionally, the mobility of CO is determined from isothermal desorption experiments. Reasonable agreement on the diffusivity of CO is found with the simulations. Analysis of the 2152 cm$^{-1}$, polar CO band supports the computational findings that the pores in the water ice provide the strongest binding sites and dominate diffusion at low temperatures.

Dynamics of CO in Amorphous Water Ice Environments [Replacement]

The long-timescale behavior of adsorbed carbon monoxide on the surface of amorphous water ice is studied under dense cloud conditions by means of off-lattice, on-the-fly, kinetic Monte Carlo simula- tions. It is found that the CO mobility is strongly influenced by the morphology of the ice substrate. Nanopores on the surface provide strong binding sites which can effectively immobilize the adsorbates at low coverage. As the coverage increases, these strong binding sites are gradually occupied leav- ing a number of admolecules with the ability to diffuse over the surface. Binding energies, and the energy barrier for diffusion are extracted for various coverages. Additionally, the mobility of CO is determined from isothermal desorption experiments. Reasonable agreement on the diffusivity of CO is found with the simulations. Analysis of the 2152 cm$^{-1}$, polar CO band supports the computational findings that the pores in the water ice provide the strongest binding sites and dominate diffusion at low temperatures.

Water in Protoplanetary Disks: Deuteration and Turbulent Mixing

We investigate water and deuterated water chemistry in turbulent protoplanetary disks. Chemical rate equations are solved with the diffusion term, mimicking turbulent mixing in vertical direction. Water near the midplane is transported to the disk atmosphere by turbulence and destroyed by photoreactions to produce atomic oxygen, while the atomic oxygen is transported to the midplane and reforms water and/or other molecules. We find that this cycle significantly decreases column densities of water ice at r < 30 AU, where dust temperatures are too high to reform water ice effectively. The radial extent of such region depends on the desorption energy of atomic hydrogen. Our model indicates that water ice could be deficient even outside the sublimation radius. Outside this radius, the cycle decreases the D/H ratio of water ice from 2×10^-2, which is set by the collapsing core model, to 10^-4-10^-2 in 10^6 yr, without significantly decreasing the water ice column density. The resultant D/H ratios depend on the strength of mixing and the radial distance from the central star. Our finding suggests that the D/H ratio of cometary water (10^-3-10^-4) could be established (i.e. cometary water could be formed) in the solar nebula, even if the D/H ratio of water ice delivered to the disk was very high (10^-2).

Outgassing Behavior of C/2012 S1 (ISON) From September 2011 to June 2013

We report photometric observations for comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) obtained during the time period immediately after discovery (r=6.28 AU) until it moved into solar conjunction in mid-2013 June using the UH2.2m, and Gemini North 8-m telescopes on Mauna Kea, the Lowell 1.8m in Flagstaff, the Calar Alto 1.2m telescope in Spain, the VYSOS-5 telescopes on Mauna Loa Hawaii and data from the CARA network. Additional pre-discovery data from the Pan STARRS1 survey extends the light curve back to 2011 September 30 (r=9.4 AU). The images showed a similar tail morphology due to small micron sized particles throughout 2013. Observations at sub-mm wavelengths using the JCMT on 15 nights between 2013 March 9 (r=4.52 AU) and June 16 (r=3.35 AU) were used to search for CO and HCN rotation lines. No gas was detected, with upper limits for CO ranging between (3.5-4.5)E27 molec/s. Combined with published water production rate estimates we have generated ice sublimation models consistent with the photometric light curve. The inbound light curve is likely controlled by sublimation of CO2. At these distances water is not a strong contributor to the outgassing. We also infer that there was a long slow outburst of activity beginning in late 2011 peaking in mid-2013 January (r~5 AU) at which point the activity decreased again through 2013 June. We suggest that this outburst was driven by CO injecting large water ice grains into the coma. Observations as the comet came out of solar conjunction seem to confi?rm our models.

Outgassing Behavior of C/2012 S1 (ISON) From September 2011 to June 2013 [Replacement]

We report photometric observations for comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) obtained during the time period immediately after discovery (r=6.28 AU) until it moved into solar conjunction in mid-2013 June using the UH2.2m, and Gemini North 8-m telescopes on Mauna Kea, the Lowell 1.8m in Flagstaff, the Calar Alto 1.2m telescope in Spain, the VYSOS-5 telescopes on Mauna Loa Hawaii and data from the CARA network. Additional pre-discovery data from the Pan STARRS1 survey extends the light curve back to 2011 September 30 (r=9.4 AU). The images showed a similar tail morphology due to small micron sized particles throughout 2013. Observations at sub-mm wavelengths using the JCMT on 15 nights between 2013 March 9 (r=4.52 AU) and June 16 (r=3.35 AU) were used to search for CO and HCN rotation lines. No gas was detected, with upper limits for CO ranging between (3.5-4.5)E27 molec/s. Combined with published water production rate estimates we have generated ice sublimation models consistent with the photometric light curve. The inbound light curve is likely controlled by sublimation of CO2. At these distances water is not a strong contributor to the outgassing. We also infer that there was a long slow outburst of activity beginning in late 2011 peaking in mid-2013 January (r~5 AU) at which point the activity decreased again through 2013 June. We suggest that this outburst was driven by CO injecting large water ice grains into the coma. Observations as the comet came out of solar conjunction seem to confi?rm our models.

On the chemical composition of Titan's dry lakebed evaporites

Titan, the main satellite of Saturn, has an active cycle of methane in its troposphere. Among other evidence for a mechanism of evaporation at work on the ground, dry lakebeds have been discovered. Recent Cassini infrared observations of these empty lakes have revealed a surface composition poor in water ice compared to that of the surrounding terrains — suggesting the existence of organic evaporites deposits. The chemical composition of these possible evaporites is unknown. In this paper, we study evaporite composition using a model that treats both organic solids dissolution and solvent evaporation. Our results suggest the possibility of large abundances of butane and acetylene in the lake evaporites. However, due to uncertainties of the employed theory, these determinations have to be confirmed by laboratory experiments.

A Trend Between Cold Debris Disk Temperature and Stellar Type: Implications for the Formation and Evolution of Wide-Orbit Planets

Cold debris disks trace the limits of planet formation or migration in the outer regions of planetary systems, and thus have the potential to answer many of the outstanding questions in wide-orbit planet formation and evolution. We characterized the infrared excess spectral energy distributions of 174 cold debris disks around 546 main-sequence stars observed by both Spitzer IRS and MIPS. We found a trend between the temperature of the inner edges of cold debris disks and the stellar type of the stars they orbit. This argues against the importance of strictly temperature-dependent processes (e.g. non-water ice lines) in setting the dimensions of cold debris disks. Also, we found no evidence that delayed stirring causes the trend. The trend may result from outward planet migration that traces the extent of the primordial protoplanetary disk, or it may result from planet formation that halts at an orbital radius limited by the efficiency of core accretion.

Climatology of the Martian Polar Regions: Three Mars Years of CRISM/MARCI Observations of Atmospheric Clouds and Dust

We present the synthesis of CRISM EPF and MARCI data to examine the evolution of atmospheric water ice and dust opacity at both poles for MY 28-30.

Signpost of Multiple Planets in Debris Disks

We review the nearby debris disk structures revealed by multi-wavelength images from Spitzer and Herschel, and complemented with detailed spectral energy distribution modeling. Similar to the definition of habitable zones around stars, debris disk structures should be identified and characterized in terms of dust temperatures rather than physical distances so that the heating power of different spectral type of stars is taken into account and common features in disks can be discussed and compared directly. Common features, such as warm (~150 K) dust belts near the water-ice line and cold (~50 K) Kuiper-belt analogs, give rise to our emerging understanding of the levels of order in debris disk structures and illuminate various processes about the formation and evolution of exoplanetary systems. In light of the disk structures in the debris disk twins (Vega and Fomalhaut), and the current limits on the masses of planetary objects, we suggest that the large gap between the warm and cold dust belts is the best signpost for multiple (low-mass) planets beyond the water-ice line.

Modeling the HD32297 Debris Disk with Far-IR Herschel Data

HD32297 is a young A-star (~30 Myr) 112 pc away with a bright edge-on debris disk that has been resolved in scattered light. We observed the HD32297 debris disk in the far-infrared and sub-millimeter with the Herschel Space Observatory PACS and SPIRE instruments, populating the spectral energy distribution (SED) from 63 to 500{\mu}m. We aimed to determine the composition of dust grains in the HD32297 disk through SED modeling, using geometrical constraints from the resolved imaging to break degeneracies inherent in SED modeling. We found the best fitting SED model has 2 components: an outer ring centered around 110 AU, seen in the scattered light images, and an inner disk near the habitable zone of the star. The outer disk appears to be composed of grains > 2{\mu}m consisting of silicates, carbonaceous material, and water ice with an abundance ratio of 1:2:3 respectively and 90% porosity. These grains appear consistent with cometary grains, implying the underlying planetesimal population is dominated by comet-like bodies. We also discuss the 3.7{\sigma} detection of [C II] emission at 158{\mu}m with the Herschel PACS Spectrometer, making HD32297 one of only a handful of debris disks with circumstellar gas detected.

The Effect of Host Star Spectral Energy Distribution and Ice-Albedo Feedback on the Climate of Extrasolar Planets

Planetary climate can be affected by the interaction of the host star spectral energy distribution with the wavelength-dependent reflectivity of ice and snow. Here we explore this effect using a one dimensional (1-D), line-by-line, radiative-transfer model to calculate broadband planetary albedos as input to a seasonally varying, 1-D energy-balance climate model. A three-dimensional general circulation model is also used to explore the atmosphere’s response to changes in incoming stellar radiation, or instellation, and surface albedo. Using this hierarchy of models we simulate planets covered by ocean, land, and water ice of varying grain size, with incident radiation from stars of different spectral types. Terrestrial planets orbiting stars with higher near-UV radiation exhibit a stronger ice-albedo feedback. We find that ice-covered conditions occur on an F-dwarf planet with only a 2% reduction in instellation relative to the present instellation on Earth, assuming fixed CO2 (present atmospheric level on Earth). A similar planet orbiting the Sun at an equivalent flux distance requires an 8% reduction in instellation, while a planet orbiting an M-dwarf star requires an additional 19% reduction in instellation to become ice-covered, equivalent to 73% of the modern solar constant. The surface ice-albedo feedback effect becomes less important at the outer edge of the habitable zone, where atmospheric CO2 can be expected to be high in order to maintain clement conditions for surface liquid water. We show that 3-10 bars of CO2 will entirely mask the climatic effect of ice and snow, leaving the outer limits of the habitable zone unaffected by the spectral dependence of water ice and snow albedo. However, less CO2 is needed to maintain open water for a planet orbiting an M-dwarf star, than would be the case for hotter main-sequence stars.

Volatile Transport inside Super-Earths by Entrapment in the Water Ice Matrix

Whether volatiles can be entrapped in a background matrix composing planetary envelopes and be dragged via convection to the surface is a key question in understanding atmospheric fluxes, cycles and composition. In this paper we consider super-Earths with an extensive water mantle (i.e. water planets), and the possibility of entrapment of methane in their extensive water ice envelopes. We adopt the theory developed by van der Waals & Platteeuw (1959) for modelling solid solutions, often used for modelling clathrate hydrates, and modify it in order to estimate the thermodynamic stability field of a new phase, called methane filled ice Ih. We find that in comparison to water ice VII the filled ice Ih structure may be stable not only at the high pressures but also at the high temperatures expected at the core-water mantle transition boundary of water planets.

Hot water in the inner 100 AU of the Class 0 protostar NGC1333 IRAS2A

Evaporation of water ice above 100 K in the inner few 100 AU of low-mass embedded protostars (the so-called hot core) should produce quiescent water vapor abundances of ~10^-4 relative to H2. Observational evidence so far points at abundances of only a few 10^-6. However, these values are based on spherical models, which are known from interferometric studies to be inaccurate on the relevant spatial scales. Are hot cores really that much drier than expected, or are the low abundances an artifact of the inaccurate physical models? We present deep velocity-resolved Herschel-HIFI spectra of the 3(12)-3(03) lines of H2-16O and H2-18O (1097 GHz, Eup/k = 249 K) in the low-mass Class 0 protostar NGC1333 IRAS2A. A spherical radiative transfer model with a power-law density profile is unable to reproduce both the HIFI data and existing interferometric data on the H2-18O 3(13)-2(20) line (203 GHz, Eup/k = 204 K). Instead, the HIFI spectra likely show optically thick emission from a hot core with a radius of about 100 AU. The mass of the hot core is estimated from the C18O J=9-8 and 10-9 lines. We derive a lower limit to the hot water abundance of 2×10^-5, consistent with the theoretical predictions of ~10^-4. The revised HDO/H2O abundance ratio is 1×10^-3, an order of magnitude lower than previously estimated.

Keck II Observations of Hemispherical Differences in H2O2 on Europa

We present results from Keck II observations of Europa over four consecutive nights using the near-infrared spectrograph (NIRSPEC). Spectra were collected in the 3.14–4.0 micron range, allowing detection and monitoring of the 3.5 micron feature due to hydrogen peroxide. Galileo Near-Infrared Spectrometer (NIMS) results first revealed hydrogen peroxide on Europa in the anti-jovian region of the leading hemisphere at an abundance of 0.13+/-0.07% by number abundance relative to water. We find comparable results for the two nights over which we observed the leading hemisphere. Significantly, we observed a small amount of hydrogen peroxide (~0.04%) during observations of Europa’s anti- and sub-Jovian hemispheres. Almost no hydrogen peroxide was detected during observations of just the trailing hemisphere. We conclude that the Galileo observations likely represent the maximum hydrogen peroxide concentration, the exception potentially being the cold water ice regions of the poles, which are not readily observable from the ground. Our mapping of the peroxide abundance across Europa requires revisions to previous estimates for Europa’s global surface abundance of oxidants and leads to a reduction in the total oxidant delivery expected for the sub-surface ocean, if exchange of surface material with the ocean occurs.

Salts and radiation products on the surface of Europa

The surface of Europa could contain the compositional imprint of a underlying interior ocean, but competing hypotheses differ over whether spectral observations from the Galileo spacecraft show the signature of ocean evaporates or simply surface radiation products unrelated to the interior. Using adaptive optics at the W.M. Keck Observatory, we have obtained spatially resolved spectra of most of the disk of Europa at a spectral resolution ~40 times higher than seen by the Galileo spacecraft. These spectra show a previously undetected distinct signature of magnesium sulfate salts on Europa, but the magnesium sulfate is confined to the trailing hemisphere and spatially correlated with the presence of radiation products like sulfuric acid and SO2. On the leading, less irradiated, hemisphere, our observations rule out the presence of many of the proposed sulfate salts, but do show the presence of distorted water ice bands. Based on the association of the potential MgSO4, detection on the trailing side with other radiation products, we conclude that MgSO4 is also a radiation product, rather than a constituent of a Europa ocean brine. Based on ocean chemistry models, we hypothesize that, prior to irradiation, magnesium is primarily in the form of MgCl2, and we predict that NaCl and KCl are even more abundant, and, in fact, dominate the non-ice component of the leading hemisphere. We propose observational tests of this new hypothesis.

An Aggregate Model for the Particle Size Distribution in Saturn's Rings

Saturn’s rings are known to consist of a large number of water ice particles. They form a flat disk, as the result of an interplay of angular momentum conservation and the steady loss of energy in dissipative particle collisions. For particles in the size range from a few centimeters to about a few meters a power law distribution of radii r^(-q), with q = 3, is implied by the light scattering properties of the rings. In contrast, for larger sizes the distribution drops steeply with increasing r. It has been suggested that this size distribution may arise from a balance between aggregation and fragmentation of ring particles, but to date neither the power-law dependence, nor the upper size-cutoff have been explained or quantified within a unique theory. Here we present a new kinetic model for the collisional evolution of the size distribution and show that the exponent q is expected to be constrained to the interval 2.75 < q < 3.5. An exponential cutoff towards larger particle sizes establishes naturally, the cutoff-radius being set by the relative frequency of aggregating and disruptive collisions. This cutoff is much smaller than the typical scale of micro-structure seen in Saturn’s rings (100 m for self-gravity wakes) and our theory represents values averaged over these structures.

An Aggregate Model for the Particle Size Distribution in Saturn's Rings [Replacement]

Saturn’s rings are known to consist of a large number of water ice particles. They form a flat disk, as the result of an interplay of angular momentum conservation and the steady loss of energy in dissipative particle collisions. For particles in the size range from a few centimeters to about a few meters a power law distribution of radii r^(-q), with q = 3, is implied by the light scattering properties of the rings. In contrast, for larger sizes the distribution drops steeply with increasing r. It has been suggested that this size distribution may arise from a balance between aggregation and fragmentation of ring particles, but to date neither the power-law dependence, nor the upper size-cutoff have been explained or quantified within a unique theory. Here we present a new kinetic model for the collisional evolution of the size distribution and show that the exponent q is expected to be constrained to the interval 2.75 < q < 3.5. An exponential cutoff towards larger particle sizes establishes naturally, the cutoff-radius being set by the relative frequency of aggregating and disruptive collisions. This cutoff is much smaller than the typical scale of micro-structure seen in Saturn’s rings (100 m for self-gravity wakes) and our theory represents values averaged over these structures.

An Aggregate Model for the Particle Size Distribution in Saturn's Rings [Replacement]

Saturn’s rings are known to consist of a large number of water ice particles. They form a flat disk, as the result of an interplay of angular momentum conservation and the steady loss of energy in dissipative particle collisions. For particles in the size range from a few centimeters to about a few meters a power law distribution of radii r^(-q), with q = 3, is implied by the light scattering properties of the rings. In contrast, for larger sizes the distribution drops steeply with increasing r. It has been suggested that this size distribution may arise from a balance between aggregation and fragmentation of ring particles, but to date neither the power-law dependence, nor the upper size-cutoff have been explained or quantified within a unique theory. Here we present a new kinetic model for the collisional evolution of the size distribution and show that the exponent q is expected to be constrained to the interval 2.75 < q < 3.5. An exponential cutoff towards larger particle sizes establishes naturally, the cutoff-radius being set by the relative frequency of aggregating and disruptive collisions. This cutoff is much smaller than the typical scale of micro-structure seen in Saturn’s rings (100 m for self-gravity wakes) and our theory represents values averaged over these structures.

Ice condensation as a planet formation mechanism

We show that condensation is an efficient particle growth mechanism, leading to growth beyond decimeter-sized pebbles close to an ice line in protoplanetary discs. As coagulation of dust particles is frustrated by bouncing and fragmentation, condensation could be a complementary, or even dominant, growth mode in the early stages of planet formation. Ice particles diffuse across the ice line and sublimate, and vapour diffusing back across the ice line recondenses onto already existing particles, causing them to grow. We develop a numerical model of the dynamical behaviour of ice particles close to the water ice line, approximately 3 AU from the host star. Particles move with the turbulent gas, modelled as a random walk. They also sediment towards the midplane and drift radially towards the central star. Condensation and sublimation are calculated using a Monte Carlo approach. Our results indicate that, with a turbulent alpha-value of 0.01, growth from millimeter to at least decimeter-sized pebbles is possible on a time scale of 1000 years. We find that particle growth is dominated by ice and vapour transport across the radial ice line, with growth due to transport across the atmospheric ice line being negligible. Ice particles mix outwards by turbulent diffusion, leading to net growth across the entire cold region. The resulting particles are large enough to be sensitive to concentration by streaming instabilities, and in pressure bumps and vortices, which can cause further growth into planetesimals. In our model, particles are considered to be homogeneous ice particles. Taking into account the more realistic composition of ice condensed onto rocky ice nuclei might affect the growth time scales, by release of refractory ice nuclei after sublimation. We also ignore sticking and fragmentation in particle collisions. These effects will be the subject of future investigations.

Ice condensation as a planet formation mechanism [Replacement]

We show that condensation is an efficient particle growth mechanism, leading to growth beyond decimeter-sized pebbles close to an ice line in protoplanetary discs. As coagulation of dust particles is frustrated by bouncing and fragmentation, condensation could be a complementary, or even dominant, growth mode in the early stages of planet formation. Ice particles diffuse across the ice line and sublimate, and vapour diffusing back across the ice line recondenses onto already existing particles, causing them to grow. We develop a numerical model of the dynamical behaviour of ice particles close to the water ice line, approximately 3 AU from the host star. Particles move with the turbulent gas, modelled as a random walk. They also sediment towards the midplane and drift radially towards the central star. Condensation and sublimation are calculated using a Monte Carlo approach. Our results indicate that, with a turbulent alpha-value of 0.01, growth from millimeter to at least decimeter-sized pebbles is possible on a time scale of 1000 years. We find that particle growth is dominated by ice and vapour transport across the radial ice line, with growth due to transport across the atmospheric ice line being negligible. Ice particles mix outwards by turbulent diffusion, leading to net growth across the entire cold region. The resulting particles are large enough to be sensitive to concentration by streaming instabilities, and in pressure bumps and vortices, which can cause further growth into planetesimals. In our model, particles are considered to be homogeneous ice particles. Taking into account the more realistic composition of ice condensed onto rocky ice nuclei might affect the growth time scales, by release of refractory ice nuclei after sublimation. We also ignore sticking and fragmentation in particle collisions. These effects will be the subject of future investigations.

Water vapor in the protoplanetary disk of DG Tau

Water is key in the evolution of protoplanetary disks and the formation of comets and icy/water planets. While high excitation water lines originating in the hot inner disk have been detected in several T Tauri stars (TTSs), water vapor from the outer disk, where most of water ice reservoir is stored, was only reported in the closeby TTS TW Hya. We present spectrally resolved Herschel/HIFI observations of the young TTS DG Tau in the ortho- and para- water ground-state transitions at 557, 1113 GHz. The lines show a narrow double-peaked profile, consistent with an origin in the outer disk, and are ~19-26 times brighter than in TW Hya. In contrast, CO and [C II] lines are dominated by emission from the envelope/outflow, which makes H2O lines a unique tracer of the disk of DG Tau. Disk modeling with the thermo-chemical code ProDiMo indicates that the strong UV field, due to the young age and strong accretion of DG Tau, irradiates a disk upper layer at 10-90 AU from the star, heating it up to temperatures of 600 K and producing the observed bright water lines. The models suggest a disk mass of 0.015-0.1 Msun, consistent with the estimated minimum mass of the solar nebula before planet formation, and a water reservoir of ~1e2-1e3 Earth oceans in vapour, and ~100 times larger in the form of ice. Hence, this detection supports the scenario of ocean delivery on terrestrial planets by impact of icy bodies forming in the outer disk.

The radial distribution of water ice and chromophores across Saturn's system

Over the last eight years, the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) aboard the Cassini orbiter has returned hyperspectral images in the 0.35-5.1 micron range of the icy satellites and rings of Saturn. These very different objects show significant variations in surface composition, roughness and regolith grain size as a result of their evolutionary histories, endogenic processes and interactions with exogenic particles. The distributions of surface water ice and chromophores, i.e. organic and non-icy materials, across the saturnian system, are traced using specific spectral indicators (spectral slopes and absorption band depths) obtained from rings mosaics and disk-integrated satellites observations by VIMS.

Study of the chemical evolution and spectral signatures of some interstellar precursor molecules of adenine, glycine alanine

We carry out a quantum chemical calculation to obtain the infrared and electronic absorption spectra of several complex molecules of the interstellar medium (ISM). These molecules are the precursors of adenine, glycine & alanine. They could be produced in the gas phase as well as in the ice phase. We carried out a hydro-chemical simulation to predict the abundances of these species in the gas as well as in the ice phase. Gas and grains are assumed to be interacting through the accretion of various species from the gas phase on to the grain surface and desorption (thermal evaporation and photo-evaporation) from the grain surface to the gas phase. Depending on the physical properties of the cloud, the calculated abundances varies. The influence of ice on vibrational frequencies of different pre-biotic molecules was obtained using Polarizable Continuum Model (PCM) model with the integral equation formalism variant (IEFPCM) as default SCRF method with a dielectric constant of 78.5. Time dependent density functional theory (TDDFT) is used to study the electronic absorption spectrum of complex molecules which are biologically important such as, formamide and precursors of adenine, alanine and glycine. We notice a significant difference between the spectra of the gas and ice phase (water ice). The ice could be mixed instead of simple water ice. We have varied the ice composition to find out the effects of solvent on the spectrum. We expect that our study could set the guidelines for observing the precursor of some bio-molecules in the interstellar space.

Exploring the nature of new main-belt comets with the 10.4m GTC telescope: (300163) 2006 VW139

We aim to study the dust ejected by main-belt comet (MBC) (300163) 2006 VW139 to obtain information on the ejection mechanism and the spectral properties of the object, to see if they are compatible with those of "normal" comets. Images in the g and r band and a low-resolution spectrum in the 0.35-0.9 micron region were obtained with the GTC telescope (La Palma, Spain). Images were analyzed to produce a color map and derive a lower limit of the absolute magnitude. A Monte Carlo (MC) scattering model was used to derive dust properties such as mass loss rates and ejection velocities as a function of time. The spectrum was compared to that of MBC 133P/Elst-Pizarro and used to search for CN emission. The spectrum of 2006 VW139 is typical of a C-class asteroid, with a spectral slope S=0.5+/-1.0%/1000A. It is similar to the spectrum of 133P and other MBCs. No CN emission is detected. A CN production rate upper limit of 3.76e23 1/s is derived. The MBC present a narrow almost linear tail that extends up to 40.000 km in the anti-solar direction and more than 80.000 km in the direction of the object’s orbital plane. The color of the tail is slightly redder than the Sun (S=3 to 6%/1000A). The MC dust tail model derived the mass loss rates and ejection velocity as a function of time, and the results show that the activity onset occurs shortly after perihelion, and lasts about 100 days; the total ejected mass is about 2e6 kg. The spectrum of VW139 suggests that it is not a "normal" comet. It is typical of the other observed MBCs. Even if no CN emission is detected, the more likely activation mechanism is water-ice sublimation. Like other well studied MBCs, VW139 is likely a primitive C-class asteroid that has a water-ice subsurface depth reservoir that has recently been exposed to sunlight or to temperatures that produce enough heat to sublime the ice.

Warm water deuterium fractionation in IRAS 16293-2422 - The high-resolution ALMA and SMA view

Measuring the water deuterium fractionation in the inner warm regions of low-mass protostars has so far been hampered by poor angular resolution obtainable with single-dish ground- and space-based telescopes. Observations of water isotopologues using (sub)millimeter wavelength interferometers have the potential to shed light on this matter. Observations toward IRAS 16293-2422 of the 5(3,2)-4(4,1) transition of H2-18O at 692.07914 GHz from Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) as well as the 3(1,3)-2(2,0) of H2-18O at 203.40752 GHz and the 3(1,2)-2(2,1) transition of HDO at 225.89672 GHz from the Submillimeter Array (SMA) are presented. The 692 GHz H2-18O line is seen toward both components of the binary protostar. Toward one of the components, "source B", the line is seen in absorption toward the continuum, slightly red-shifted from the systemic velocity, whereas emission is seen off-source at the systemic velocity. Toward the other component, "source A", the two HDO and H2-18O lines are detected as well with the SMA. From the H2-18O transitions the excitation temperature is estimated at 124 +/- 12 K. The calculated HDO/H2O ratio is (9.2 +/- 2.6)*10^(-4) – significantly lower than previous estimates in the warm gas close to the source. It is also lower by a factor of ~5 than the ratio deduced in the outer envelope. Our observations reveal the physical and chemical structure of water vapor close to the protostars on solar-system scales. The red-shifted absorption detected toward source B is indicative of infall. The excitation temperature is consistent with the picture of water ice evaporation close to the protostar. The low HDO/H2O ratio deduced here suggests that the differences between the inner regions of the protostars and the Earth’s oceans and comets are smaller than previously thought.

A Unified Monte Carlo Treatment of Gas-Grain Chemistry for Large Reaction Networks. II. A Multiphase Gas-Surface-Layered Bulk Model

The observed gas-phase molecular inventory of hot cores is believed to be significantly impacted by the products of chemistry in interstellar ices. In this study, we report the construction of a full macroscopic Monte Carlo model of both the gas-phase chemistry and the chemistry occurring in the icy mantles of interstellar grains. Our model treats icy grain mantles in a layer-by-layer manner, which incorporates laboratory data on ice desorption correctly. The ice treatment includes a distinction between a reactive ice surface and an inert bulk. The treatment also distinguishes between zeroth and first order desorption, and includes the entrapment of volatile species in more refractory ice mantles. We apply the model to the investigation of the chemistry in hot cores, in which a thick ice mantle built up during the previous cold phase of protostellar evolution undergoes surface reactions and is eventually evaporated. For the first time, the impact of a detailed multilayer approach to grain mantle formation on the warm-up chemistry is explored. The use of a multilayer ice structure has a mixed impact on the abundances of organic species formed during the warm-up phase. For example, the abundance of gaseous HCOOCH3 is lower in the multilayer model than in previous grain models that do not distinguish between layers (so-called "two phase" models). Other gaseous organic species formed in the warm-up phase are affected slightly. Finally, we find that the entrapment of volatile species in water ice can explain the two-jump behavior of H2CO previously found in observations of protostars.

A Unified Monte Carlo Treatment of Gas-Grain Chemistry for Large Reaction Networks. II. A Multiphase Gas-Surface-Layered Bulk Model [Replacement]

The observed gas-phase molecular inventory of hot cores is believed to be significantly impacted by the products of chemistry in interstellar ices. In this study, we report the construction of a full macroscopic Monte Carlo model of both the gas-phase chemistry and the chemistry occurring in the icy mantles of interstellar grains. Our model treats icy grain mantles in a layer-by-layer manner, which incorporates laboratory data on ice desorption correctly. The ice treatment includes a distinction between a reactive ice surface and an inert bulk. The treatment also distinguishes between zeroth and first order desorption, and includes the entrapment of volatile species in more refractory ice mantles. We apply the model to the investigation of the chemistry in hot cores, in which a thick ice mantle built up during the previous cold phase of protostellar evolution undergoes surface reactions and is eventually evaporated. For the first time, the impact of a detailed multilayer approach to grain mantle formation on the warm-up chemistry is explored. The use of a multilayer ice structure has a mixed impact on the abundances of organic species formed during the warm-up phase. For example, the abundance of gaseous HCOOCH3 is lower in the multilayer model than in previous grain models that do not distinguish between layers (so-called "two phase" models). Other gaseous organic species formed in the warm-up phase are affected slightly. Finally, we find that the entrapment of volatile species in water ice can explain the two-jump behavior of H2CO previously found in observations of protostars.

The Collisional Evolution of Debris Disks [Replacement]

We explore the collisional decay of disk mass and infrared emission in debris disks. With models, we show that the rate of the decay varies throughout the evolution of the disks, increasing its rate up to a certain point, which is followed by a leveling off to a slower value. The total disk mass falls off ~ t^-0.35 at its fastest point (where t is time) for our reference model, while the dust mass and its proxy — the infrared excess emission — fades significantly faster (~ t^-0.8). These later level off to a decay rate of M_tot(t) ~ t^-0.08 and M_dust(t) or L_ir(t) ~ t^-0.6. This is slower than the ~ t^-1 decay given for all three system parameters by traditional analytic models. We also compile an extensive catalog of Spitzer and Herschel 24, 70, and 100 micron observations. Assuming a log-normal distribution of initial disk masses, we generate model population decay curves for the fraction of debris disk harboring stars observed at 24 micron and also model the distribution of measured excesses at the far-IR wavelengths (70-100 micron) at certain age regimes. We show general agreement at 24 micron between the decay of our numerical collisional population synthesis model and observations up to a Gyr. We associate offsets above a Gyr to stochastic events in a few select systems. We cannot fit the decay in the far infrared convincingly with grain strength properties appropriate for silicates, but those of water ice give fits more consistent with the observations.

The Collisional Evolution of Debris Disks

We explore the collisional decay of disk mass and infrared emission in debris disks. With models, we show that the rate of the decay varies throughout the evolution of the disks, increasing its rate up to a certain point, which is followed by a leveling off to a slower value. The total disk mass falls off ~ t^-0.35 at its fastest point (where t is time) for our reference model, while the dust mass and its proxy — the infrared excess emission — fades significantly faster (~ t^-0.8). These later level off to a decay rate of M_tot(t) ~ t^-0.08 and M_dust(t) or L_ir(t) ~ t^-0.6. This is slower than the ~ t^-1 decay given for all three system parameters by traditional analytic models. We also compile an extensive catalog of Spitzer and Herschel 24, 70, and 100 micron observations. Assuming a log-normal distribution of initial disk masses, we generate model population decay curves for the fraction of debris disk harboring stars observed at 24 micron and also model the distribution of measured excesses at the far-IR wavelengths (70-100 micron) at certain age regimes. We show general agreement at 24 micron between the decay of our numerical collisional population synthesis model and observations up to a Gyr. We associate offsets above a Gyr to stochastic events in a few select systems. We cannot fit the decay in the far infrared convincingly with grain strength properties appropriate for silicates, but those of water ice give fits more consistent with the observations.

The Collisional Evolution of Debris Disks [Replacement]

We explore the collisional decay of disk mass and infrared emission in debris disks. With models, we show that the rate of the decay varies throughout the evolution of the disks, increasing its rate up to a certain point, which is followed by a leveling off to a slower value. The total disk mass falls off ~ t^-0.35 at its fastest point (where t is time) for our reference model, while the dust mass and its proxy — the infrared excess emission — fades significantly faster (~ t^-0.8). These later level off to a decay rate of M_tot(t) ~ t^-0.08 and M_dust(t) or L_ir(t) ~ t^-0.6. This is slower than the ~ t^-1 decay given for all three system parameters by traditional analytic models. We also compile an extensive catalog of Spitzer and Herschel 24, 70, and 100 micron observations. Assuming a log-normal distribution of initial disk masses, we generate model population decay curves for the fraction of debris disk harboring stars observed at 24 micron and also model the distribution of measured excesses at the far-IR wavelengths (70-100 micron) at certain age regimes. We show general agreement at 24 micron between the decay of our numerical collisional population synthesis model and observations up to a Gyr. We associate offsets above a Gyr to stochastic events in a few select systems. We cannot fit the decay in the far infrared convincingly with grain strength properties appropriate for silicates, but those of water ice give fits more consistent with the observations.

Looking for the rainbow on exoplanets covered by liquid and icy water clouds

Looking for the primary rainbow in starlight that is reflected by exoplanets appears to be a promising method to search for liquid water clouds in exoplanetary atmospheres. Ice water clouds, that consist of water crystals instead of water droplets, could potentially mask the rainbow feature in the planetary signal by covering liquid water clouds. Here, we investigate the strength of the rainbow feature for exoplanets that have liquid and icy water clouds in their atmosphere, and calculate the rainbow feature for a realistic cloud coverage of Earth. We calculate flux and polarization signals of starlight that is reflected by horizontally and vertically inhomogeneous Earth–like exoplanets, covered by patchy clouds consisting of liquid water droplets or water ice crystals. The planetary surfaces are black. On a planet with a significant coverage of liquid water clouds only, the total flux signal shows a weak rainbow feature. Any coverage of the liquid water clouds by ice clouds, however, dampens the rainbow feature in the total flux, and thus the discovery of liquid water in the atmosphere. On the other hand, detecting the primary rainbow in the polarization signal of exoplanets appears to be a powerful tool for detecting liquid water in exoplanetary atmospheres, even when these clouds are partially covered by ice clouds. In particular, liquid water clouds covering as little as 10%-20% of the planetary surface, with more than half of these covered by ice clouds, still create a polarized rainbow feature in the planetary signal. Indeed, calculations of flux and polarization signals of an exoplanet with a realistic Earth–like cloud coverage, show a strong polarized rainbow feature.

Water ice deuteration: a tracer of the chemical history of protostars

Context. Millimetric observations have measured large degrees of molecular deuteration in several species seen around low-mass protostars. The Herschel Space Telescope, launched in 2009, is now providing new measures of the deuterium fractionation of water, the main constituent of interstellar ices. Aims. We aim at theoretically studying the formation and the deuteration of water which is believed to be formed on interstellar grain surfaces in molecular clouds. Methods. We used our gas-grain astrochemical model GRAINOBLE which considers the multilayer formation of interstellar ices. We varied several input parameters to study their impact on water deuteration. We included the treatment of ortho and para states of key species, including H2, that affects the deuterium fractionation of all molecules. The model also includes relevant laboratory and theoretical works on water formation and deuteration on grain surfaces. In particular, we computed the transmission probabilities of surface reactions using the Eckart model and we considered ice photodissociation following molecular dynamics simulations. Results. The use of a multilayer approach allowed us to study the influence of various parameters on the abundance and the deuteration of water. Deuteration of water is found to be very sensitive to the ortho-to-para ratio of H2 and the total density, but it also depends on the gas/grain temperatures and the visual extinction of the cloud. Since the deuteration is very sensitive to the physical conditions, the comparison with sub-millimetric observation towards the low-mass protostar IRAS 16293 allowed us to suggest that water ice is formed together with CO2 in molecular clouds with limited density while formaldehyde and methanol are mainly formed in a later phase, where the condensation becomes denser and colder.

Water ice deuteration: a tracer of the chemical history of protostars [Replacement]

Context. Millimetric observations have measured high degrees of molecular deuteration in several species seen around low-mass protostars. The Herschel Space Telescope, launched in 2009, is now providing new measures of the deuterium fractionation of water, the main constituent of interstellar ices. Aims. We aim at theoretically studying the formation and the deuteration of water, which is believed to be formed on interstellar grain surfaces in molecular clouds. Methods. We used our gas-grain astrochemical model GRAINOBLE, which considers the multilayer formation of interstellar ices. We varied several input parameters to study their impact on water deuteration. We included the treatment of ortho- and para-states of key species, including H2, which affects the deuterium fractionation of all molecules. The model also includes relevant laboratory and theoretical works on the water formation and deuteration on grain surfaces. In particular, we computed the transmission probabilities of surface reactions using the Eckart model, and we considered ice photodissociation following molecular dynamics simulations. Results. The use of a multilayer approach allowed us to study the influence of various parameters on the abundance and the deuteration of water. Deuteration of water is found to be very sensitive to the ortho-to-para ratio of H2 and to the total density, but it also depends on the gas/grain temperatures and the visual extinction of the cloud. Since the deuteration is very sensitive to the physical conditions, the comparison with sub-millimetric observation towards the low-mass protostar IRAS 16293 allows us to suggest that water ice is formed together with CO2 in molecular clouds with limited density, whilst formaldehyde and methanol are mainly formed in a later phase, where the condensation becomes denser and colder.

The thermal reactivity of HCN and NH3 in interstellar ice analogues

HCN is a molecule central to interstellar chemistry, since it is the simplest molecule containing a carbon-nitrogen bond and its solid state chemistry is rich. The aim of this work was to study the NH3 + HCN -> NH4+CN- thermal reaction in interstellar ice analogues. Laboratory experiments based on Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and mass spectrometry were performed to characterise the NH4+CN- reaction product and its formation kinetics. This reaction is purely thermal and can occur at low temperatures in interstellar ices without requiring non-thermal processing by photons, electrons or cosmic rays. The reaction rate constant has a temperature dependence of k(T) = 0.016+0.010-0.006 s-1.exp((-2.7+-0.4 kJmol-1)/(RT)) when NH3 is much more abundant than HCN. When both reactants are diluted in water ice, the reaction is slowed down. We have estimated the CN- ion band strength to be A_CN- = 1.8+-1.5 x10-17 cm molec-1 at both 20 K and 140 K. NH4+CN- exhibits zeroth-order multilayer desorption kinetics with a rate of k_des(T) = 10^28 molecules cm-2 s-1.exp((-38.0+-1.4 kJmol-1)/(RT)). The NH3 + HCN -> NH4+CN- thermal reaction is of primary importance because (i) it decreases the amount of HCN available to be hydrogenated into CH2NH, (ii) the NH4+ and CN- ions react with species such as H2CO, or CH2NH to form complex molecules, and (iii) NH4+CN- is a reservoir of NH3 and HCN, which can be made available to a high temperature chemistry.

Adaptive Optics Observations of 3 micron Water Ice in Silhouette Disks in the Orion Nebula Cluster and M43

We present the near-infrared images and spectra of four silhouette disks in the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC; M42) and M43 using the Subaru Adaptive Optics system. While d053-717 and d141-1952 show no water ice feature at 3.1 micron, a moderately deep (tau~0.7) water ice absorption is detected toward d132-1832 and d216-0939. Taking into account the water ice so far detected in the silhouette disks, the critical inclination angle to produce a water ice absorption feature is confirmed to be 65-75deg. As for d216-0939, the crystallized water ice profile is exactly the same as in the previous observations taken 3.63 years ago. If the water ice material is located at 30AU, then the observations suggest it is uniform at a scale of about 3.5AU.

Connections between Spectra and Structure in Saturn's Main Rings Based on Cassini VIMS Data [Replacement]

Saturn’s main rings exhibit variations in both their opacity and spectral properties on a broad range of spatial scales, and the correlations between these parameters can provide insights into the processes that shape the composition and dynamics of the rings. The Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) instrument onboard the Cassini Spacecraft has obtained spectra of the rings between 0.35 and 5.2 microns with sufficient spatial resolution to discern variations on scales below 200 km. These relatively high-resolution spectral data reveal that both the depths of the near-infrared water-ice absorption bands and the visible spectral slopes are often correlated with structural parameters such as the rings’ optical depth. Using a simplified model for the ring-particles’ regolith properties, we have begun to disentangle the trends due to changes in the gross composition of the ring particles from those that may be due to shifts in the texture of the ring particles’ regolith. Consistent with previous studies, this analysis finds that the C ring and the Cassini Division possess enhanced concentrations of a contaminant that absorbs light over a broad range of wavelengths. On the other hand, a second contaminant that preferentially absorbs at short visible and near-ultraviolet wavelengths is found to be more evenly distributed throughout the rings. The optical activity of this short-wavelength absorber increases in the inner B ring inwards of 100,000 km from Saturn center, which may provide clues to the origin of this contaminant. The spectral variations identified as shifts in the regolith texture are in some places clearly correlated with the ring’s optical depth, and in other locations they appear to be associated with the disturbances generated by strong mean-motion resonances with Saturn’s various moons.

Connections between Spectra and Structure in Saturn's Main Rings Based on Cassini VIMS Data

Saturn’s main rings exhibit variations in both their opacity and spectral properties on a broad range of spatial scales, and the correlations between these parameters can provide insights into the processes that shape the composition and dynamics of the rings. The Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) instrument onboard the Cassini Spacecraft has obtained spectra of the rings between 0.35 and 5.2 microns with sufficient spatial resolution to discern variations on scales below 200 km. These relatively high-resolution spectral data reveal that both the depths of the near-infrared water-ice absorption bands and the visible spectral slopes are often correlated with structural parameters such as the rings’ optical depth. Using a simplified model for the ring-particles’ regolith properties, we have begun to disentangle the trends due to changes in the gross composition of the ring particles from those that may be due to shifts in the texture of the ring particles’ regolith. Consistent with previous studies, this analysis finds that the C ring and the Cassini Division possess enhanced concentrations of a contaminant that absorbs light over a broad range of wavelengths. On the other hand, a second contaminant that preferentially absorbs at short visible and near-ultraviolet wavelengths is found to be more evenly distributed throughout the rings. The optical activity of this short-wavelength absorber increases in the inner B ring inwards of 100,000 km from Saturn center, which may provide clues to the origin of this contaminant. The spectral variations identified as shifts in the regolith texture are in some places clearly correlated with the ring’s optical depth, and in other locations they appear to be associated with the disturbances generated by strong mean-motion resonances with Saturn’s various moons.

Polarimetry of transneptunian objects (136472) Makemake and (90482) Orcus

Context. We study the surface properties of transneptunian populations of Solar-system bodies. Aims. We investigate the surface characteristics of the dwarf planet (136472) Makemake and the resonant object (90482) Orcus. Methods. Using the FORS2 instrument of the ESO-VLT we have carried out linear polarisation measurements of Makemake and Orcus. Results. Polarisation of Orcus is similar to that of smaller size objects. The polarimetric properties of Makemake are very close to those of Eris and Pluto. We have not found any significant differences in the polarisation properties of objects from different dynamical classes. However, there are significant differences in polarisation of large and smaller size objects, and between large TNOs with water-ice and methane-ice dominated surfaces. Conclusions. We confirm the different types of polarisation phase behavior for the largest and smaller size TNOs. To explain subtle surface polarisation of Pluto, Makemake and Eris we assume that their surfaces are covered by a thin layer of hoarfrost masking the surface structure.

Probing dynamical processes in the planet forming region with dust mineralogy

We present Herschel Space Observatory PACS spectra of GQ Lup, a protoplanetary disk in the Lupus star-forming region. Through SED fitting from 0.3{\mu}m to 1.3mm, we construct a self-consistent model of this system’s temperature and density structures, finding that although it is 3 Myr old, its dust has not settled to the midplane substantially. The disk has a radial gradient in both the silicate dust composition and grain size, with large amorphous grains in the upper layers of the inner disk and an enhancement of submicron, crystalline grains in the outer disk. We detect an excess of emission in the Herschel PACS B2A band near 63{\mu}m and model it with a combination of {\sim}15 to 70{\mu}m crystalline water ice grains with a size distribution consistent with ice recondensation-enhanced grain growth and a mass fraction half of that of our solar system. The combination of crystalline water ice and silicates in the outer disk is suggestive of disk-wide heating events or planetesimal collisions. If confirmed, this would be the first detection of water ice by Herschel.

Regolith grain sizes of Saturn's rings inferred from Cassini-CIRS far-infrared spectra

We analyze far-infrared (10-650 cm$^{-1}$) emissivity spectra of Saturn’s main rings obtained by the Cassini Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS). In modeling of the spectra, the single scattering albedos of regolith grains are calculated using the Mie theory, diffraction is removed with the delta-Eddington approximation, and the hemispherical emissivities of macroscopic free-floating ring particles are calculated using the Hapke’s isotropic scattering model. Only pure crystalline water ice is considered and the size distribution of regolith grains is estimated. We find that good fits are obtained if the size distribution is broad ranging from 1 $\mu$m to 1-10 cm with a power law index of $ \sim 3$. This means that the largest regolith grains are comparable to the smallest free-floating particles in size and that the power law indices for both free-floating particles and regolith grains are similar to each other. The apparent relative abundance of small grains increases with decreasing solar phase angle (or increasing mean temperature). This trend is particularly strong for the C ring and is probably caused by eclipse cooling in Saturn’s shadow, which relatively suppresses warming up of grains larger than the thermal skin depth ($\sim$ 1 mm) under subsequent solar illumination.

H4O and other hydrogen-oxygen compounds at giant-planet core pressures [Cross-Listing]

Water and hydrogen at high pressure make up a substantial fraction of the interiors of giant planets. Using ab initio random structure search methods we investigate the ground-state crystal structures of water, hydrogen, and hydrogen-oxygen compounds. We find that, at pressures beyond 14 Mbar, excess hydrogen is incorporated into the ice phase to form a novel structure with H4O stoichiometry. We also predict two new ground state structures, P2_1/m and I4/mmm, for post-C2/m water ice.

 

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