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Constraints on water vapor and sulfur dioxide at Ceres: Exploiting the sensitivity of the Hubble Space Telescope
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Space and Plasma Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0554-4691
2018 (English)In: Icarus (New York, N.Y. 1962), ISSN 0019-1035, E-ISSN 1090-2643, Vol. 305, p. 149-159Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Far-ultraviolet observations of dwarf-planet (1) Ceres were obtained on several occasions in 2015 and 2016 by the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS), both on board the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). We report a search for neutral gas emissions at hydrogen, oxygen and sulfur lines around Ceres from a potential teneous exosphere. No detectable exosphere emissions are present in any of the analyzed HST observations. We apply analytical models to relate the derived upper limits for the atomic species to a water exosphere (for H and O) and a sulfur dioxide exosphere (for S and O), respectively. The H and O upper limits constrain the H2O production rate at the surface to (2-4) x 10(26) molecules s(-1) or lower, similar to or slightly larger than previous detections and upper limits. With low fluxes of energetic protons measured in the solar wind prior to the HST observations and the obtained non-detections, an assessment of the recently suggested sputter-generated water exosphere during solar energetic particle events is not possible. Investigating a sulfur dioxide-based exosphere, we find that the O and S upper limits constrain the SO2 density at the surface to values similar to 10(10) times lower than the equilibrium vapor pressure density. This result implies that SO2 is not present on Ceres' sunlit surface, contrary to previous findings in HST ultraviolet reflectance spectra but in agreement with the absence of SO2 infrared spectral features as observed by the Dawn spacecraft.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Academic Press, 2018. Vol. 305, p. 149-159
Keywords [en]
Asteroid Ceres, Ultraviolet observations, Atmospheres, Composition, Asteroids, Surfaces
National Category
Physical Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-224671DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2018.01.011ISI: 000426335400012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-224671DiVA, id: diva2:1192773
Funder
VINNOVASwedish National Space Board
Note

QC 20180323

Available from: 2018-03-23 Created: 2018-03-23 Last updated: 2018-03-23Bibliographically approved

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