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Recent Results with COSmIC in Interstellar, Circumstellar and Planetary Laboratory Astrophysics

Published onJun 01, 2020
Recent Results with COSmIC in Interstellar, Circumstellar and Planetary Laboratory Astrophysics

The Cosmic Simulation Chamber (COSmIC) facility was developed at NASA Ames to study, in the laboratory, neutral and ionized molecules, nanoparticles and grains under the low temperature and high vacuum conditions representative of interstellar, circumstellar and planetary environments [1]. COSmIC is composed of a Pulsed Discharge Nozzle expansion that generates a plasma in a free supersonic jet expansion coupled to high-sensitivity, complementary in situ diagnostic tools, used for the detection and characterization of the species present in the expansion: a Cavity Ring Down Spectroscopy and fluorescence spectroscopy systems operating in the UV-Visible-NIR range [2], and a Reflectron Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (ReTOF-MS) [3]. We will present recent advances that were achieved in laboratory astrophysics that include advances in the domain of the diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) [4, 5, 6] and in the formation of dust grains and aerosols from their gas-phase molecular precursors in environments as varied as circumstellar outflows [7, 8, 9] and planetary atmospheres [10, 11, 12] as well as the determination of the optical constants from the visible to the FIR, for Titan aerosol analogs and analogs of hazes and cloud particles in (exo)planet atmospheres and brown dwarfs [13]. The spectral response of the facility has been extended into the infrared (IR) range with the addition of a high-resolution near-IR to mid-IR CRDS system that will allow to further investigate cosmic molecules and grains with COSmIC. Preliminary results in these fronts will presented and the implications of the on-going studies for astronomy and space missions (HST, JWST, SOFIA, Cassini...) will be addressed. References: [1] Salama F., et al., Proceedings IAU S332, CUP (2018). [2] Biennier et al., Chem. Phys. 326, 445 (2006). [3] Ricketts C., et al., Int. J. Mass. Spec. 300, 26 (2011). [4] Salama F. et al., The Astrophys. J. 728, 154 (2011). [5] Cox, N. et al., A&A 606, A76 (2017). [6] Bejaoui, S. & Salama, F., AIP Advances 9, 085021 (2019). [7] Contreras, C.S. & Salama, F., ApJ. Suppl. Ser. 208, 6 (2013). [8] Gavilan et al. The Astrophys. J. 889, 101 (2020). [9] Sciamma-O’Brien, E. et al. 2020 (in preparation). [10] Sciamma-O'Brien E. et al., Icarus 243, 325 (2014). [11] Sciamma-O'Brien E. et al., Icarus 289, 214 (2017). [12] Raymond A.W. et al., ApJ. 853, 107 (2018). [13] Sciamma-O'Brien E. et al., Vol. 13, EPSC-DPS2019-161-1, 2019. [14] Bejaoui et al., in preparation (2020). Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge the support of NASA SMD/APRA and SSW programs and the technical support of R. Walker and E. Quigley.

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