Volume 545, September 2012
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||31 August 2012|
The 12C2/12C13C isotopic ratio in comets C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) and C/2002 T7 (LINEAR)⋆
1 University of Franche-Comté, Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers THETA, Institut UTINAM - UMR CNRS 6213, BP 1615, 25010 Besançon Cedex, France
2 F.R.S.-FNRS, Institut d’Astrophysique et de Géophysique, Université de Liège, Allée du 6 août 17, 4000 Liège, Belgium
Received: 22 March 2012
Accepted: 5 July 2012
Context. Measuring the carbon isotope abundance ratio in comets allows one to constrain the conditions in the outer protosolar nebula. Different measurements of the 12C/13C ratio, using various molecules, have already been published for different solar system objects, such as the Sun, the Earth, the Moon, asteroids, planets, or comets. So far, all these measurements are consistent with 12C/13C ~ 90, but significant differences have been observed. This ratio is remarkably constant in comets (91.0 ± 3.6) for studies based on the CN radical, but it presents stronger variations in studies based on other radicals.
Aims. This paper aims at measuring the 12C/13C ratio in two bright Oort cloud comets using the and emission lines and an improved method. The ratios will be compared to those obtained for the same comets with another radical, CN.
Methods. We used the (2,1) and (1,0) bandheads of the , near 4723 and 4745 Å to measure the 12C/13C ratio and compared their intensity to the lines of the same bands. We developed a model for interpreting observational data obtained at high resolution (~70 000) using the 8.2-m Kueyen telescope (UT2) of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) with the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph (UVES) in two comets: C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) and C/2002 T7 (LINEAR).
Results. Our modeling has provided 12C/13C = 85 ± 20 for C/2002 T7 (LINEAR) and 80 ± 20 for C/2001 Q4 (NEAT). These values are compatible with previous measurements performed with the CN radical.
Key words: line: identification / comets: general / comets: individual: C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) / comets: individual: C/2002 T7 (LINEAR)
© ESO, 2012
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