Unidentified infrared emission features in mid-infrared spectrum of comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner

1Takafumi Ootsubo,2,3Hideyo Kawakita,2Yoshiharu Shinnaka,4Jun-ichi Watanabe,5Mitsuhiko Honda
Icarus (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2019.113450]
1Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), 3-1-1, Yoshinodai, Chuo-ku, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 252-5210, Japan
2Laboratory of Infrared High-resolution Spectroscopy (LiH), Koyama Astronomical Observatory, Kyoto Sangyo University, Motoyama, Kamigamo, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8555, Japan
3Department of Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences, Faculty of Science, Kyoto Sangyo University, Motoyama, Kamigamo, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8555, Japan
4Public Relation Center, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, 2-21-1 Osawa, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8588, Japan
5Faculty of Biosphere-Geosphere Science Department of Biosphere-Geosphere Science, Okayama University of Science, 1-1 Ridaicho, Kita-ku, Okayama-shi 700-0005, Japan
Copyright Elsevier

Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner (hereafter, comet 21P/G-Z) is a Jupiter-family comet and a parent comet of the October Draconids meteor shower. If meteoroids originating from a Jupiter-family comet contain complex organic molecules, such as amino acids, they are essential pieces of the puzzle regarding the origin of life on Earth. We observed comet 21P/G-Z in the mid-infrared wavelength region using the Cooled Mid-infrared Camera and Spectrometer (COMICS) on the 8.2 m Subaru Telescope on UT 2005 July 5. Here, we report the unidentified infrared (UIR) emission features of comet 21P/G-Z, which are likely due to complex organic molecules (both aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons), and the thermal emission from amorphous/crystalline silicates and amorphous carbon grains in its mid-infrared low-resolution spectrum. The UIR features at ~8.2 μm, ~8.5 μm, and ~11.2 μm found in the spectrum of comet 21P/G-Z could be attributed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (or hydrogenated amorphous carbons) contaminated by N- or O-atoms, although part of the feature at ~11.2 μm comes from crystalline olivine. The other feature at ~9.2 μm might originate from aliphatic hydrocarbons. Comet 21P/G-Z is enriched in complex organic molecules. Considering that the derived mass fraction of crystalline silicates in comet 21P/G-Z is typical of comets, we propose that the comet originated from a circumplanetary disk of giant planets (similar to Jupiter and Saturn) where was warmer than the typical comet-forming region (5–30 au from the Sun) and was suitable for the formation of complex organic molecules. Comets from circumplanetary disks might be enriched in complex organic molecules, such as comet 21P/G-Z, and may have provided pre-biotic molecules to ancient Earth by direct impact or meteor showers.

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