AKARI near-infrared spectroscopic survey for CO2 in 18 comets

Takafumi Ootsubo, Hideyo Kawakita, Saki Hamada, Hitomi Kobayashi, Mitsuru Yamaguchi, Fumihiko Usui, Takao Nakagawa, Munetaka Ueno, Masateru Ishiguro, Tomohiko Sekiguchi, Jun Ichi Watanabe, Itsuki Sakon, Takashi Shimonishi, Takashi Onaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)


We conducted a spectroscopic survey of cometary volatiles with the Infrared Camera on board the Japanese infrared satellite AKARI in the wavelength range from 2.5 to 5 μm. In our survey, 18comets, including both the Oort cloud comets and the Jupiter-family comets, were observed in the period from 2008 June to 2010 January, most of which were observed at least twice. The prominent emission bands in the observed spectra are the fundamental vibrational bands of water (H2O) at 2.7 μm and carbon dioxide (CO2) at 4.3 μm. The fundamental vibrational band of carbon monoxide (CO) around 4.7 μm and the broad emission feature, probably related to carbon-hydrogen-bearing molecules, can also be recognized around the 3.3-3.5-μm region in some of the comets. With respect to H2O, gas production rate ratios of CO 2 have been derived in 17comets, except for the comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1. Our data set provides the largest homogeneous database of CO2/H2O production rate ratios in comets obtained so far. The CO2/H2O production rate ratios are considered to reflect the composition of cometary ice when a comet is observed at a heliocentric distance within 2.5AU, since H2O ice fully sublimates there. The CO2/H2O ratio in cometary ice spans from several to 30% among the comets observed at <2.5AU (13out of the 17comets). Alternatively, the ratio of CO/CO2 in the comets seems to be smaller than unity based on our observations, although we only obtain upper limits for CO in most of the comets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jun 10
Externally publishedYes


  • comets: general
  • infrared: planetary systems
  • protoplanetary disks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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