Mid-infrared spectra of cometary dust: the evasion of its silicate mineralogy
Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Kita-ku Kita-19 Nishi-8, Sapporo 060-0819, Japan e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 5 February 2008
Infrared spectra of dust in cometary comae provide a way to identify its silicate constituents, and this is crucial for correctly understanding the condition under which our planetary system is formed. Recent studies assign a newly detected peak at a wavelength of 9.3 μm to pyroxenes and regard them as the most abundant silicate minerals in comets. Here we dispense with this pyroxene hypothesis to numerically reproduce the infrared features of cometary dust in the framework of our interstellar dust models. Presolar interstellar dust in a comet is modeled as fluffy aggregates consisting of submicrometer-sized organic grains with an amorphous-silicate core that undergoes nonthermal crystallization in a coma. We assert that forsterite (Mg2SiO4) is the carrier of all the observed features, including the 9.3 μm peak and that the major phase of iron is sulfides rather than iron-rich silicates.
Key words: comets: general / meteors, meteoroids / solar system: formation / dust, extinction / infrared: solar system
© ESO, 2008