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Searching for New Absorptions of Microporous H₂O-ice Accessible to JWST NIRSpec

Presentation #108.04 in the session “Comet Comae: A Tail of Volatiles and Ice”.

Published onOct 26, 2020
Searching for New Absorptions of Microporous H₂O-ice Accessible to JWST NIRSpec

Remote sensing spectroscopy is commonly used to characterize the surface of extraterrestrial objects. One crucial physical property of the surface is its microporosity. Microporous H2O-ice is of specific astrophysical significance as the micropores can trap additional volatiles, and facilitate gas-grain chemistry which generally alters the chemical history of the ice. Microporous H2O-ice is typically characterized by absorptions within the mid-IR spectral region. With the upcoming launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), there is the expectation that many new species or new absorptions from previously discovered species will be identified in the solid phase. This may prove especially useful in the near-infrared (NIR) region, where the NIRSpec instrument is expected to have 1-2 orders of magnitude higher signal-to-noise than its predecessors. In light of this possibility, we have begun using NIR spectroscopy to complement our typical studies in the mid-IR. Here we present some of our newest findings on laboratory ices that are predominantly composed of H2O and are relevant for environments that could be probed by JWST NIRSpec.


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