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Conference Papers Year : 2015

Neutral Na in comet tails: a chemical story


The origin of the neutral sodium comet tail discovered in comet Hale-Bopp in 1997 is still a matter of discussion. Here we propose a scenario which is based on chemical grounds. The starting point is the chemical trapping of the Na+ ion in the refractory material during the condensation phase of the protosolar nebula, followed by its incorporation in the building blocks of the comets parent bodies. In the next step, the Na+ ions are washed out of the refractory material by the water formed by the melting of the ice due to the heat released in the radioactive decay of short period elements. When the water freezes again, the Na+ ion looses its positive charge to evolve progressively toward a neutral atom when approaching the surface of the ice. As shown by high-level numerical simulations based on first principle periodic density functional theory (DFT) to describe the solid structure of the ice, it is a neutral Na that is ejected with the sublimation of the ice top layer
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insu-01214273 , version 1 (11-10-2015)


  • HAL Id : insu-01214273 , version 1


Y. Ellinger, F. Pauzat, O. Mousis, A. Guilbert-Lepoutre, François Leblanc, et al.. Neutral Na in comet tails: a chemical story. European Planetary Science Congress 2015, Sep 2015, Nantes, France. pp.EPSC2015-262. ⟨insu-01214273⟩
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