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Paper: High-Resolution Imaging of Comets
Monograph: 7, Science with a Next Generation Very Large Array
Page: 73
Authors: Cordiner, M. A.; Qi, C.
Abstract: Detailed mapping of the distributions and kinematics of gases in cometary comae at radio wavelengths can provide fundamental advances in our understanding of cometary activity and outgassing mechanisms. Furthermore, the measurement of cometary molecular abundances provides new insights into the chemical composition of some of the Solar System's most primitive materials. Here we investigate the opportunities for significant progress in these fields of study using a very large radio interferometer. The ngVLA concept will enable the detection and mapping a range of key coma species in the 1.2–116 GHz range, and will allow mapping of fundamental cometary molecules including OH and NH3 for the first time at high (∼1″) angular resolution. The extremely high angular resolution and continuum sensitivity of the proposed ngVLA will allow the possibility of imaging the thermal emission from the nucleus itself, as well as large dust/ice grains in the comae of comets passing within ∼1 au of Earth.
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