First in situ detection of the CN radical in comets and evidence for a distributed source

Hänni, Nora; Altwegg, Kathrin; Pestoni, Boris; Rubin, Martin; Schroeder, Isaac; Schuhmann, Markus; Wampfler, Susanne (2020). First in situ detection of the CN radical in comets and evidence for a distributed source. Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 498(2), pp. 2239-2248. Oxford University Press 10.1093/mnras/staa2387

staa2387.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (7MB) | Preview

Although the debate regarding the origin of the cyano (CN) radical in comets has been ongoing for many decades, it has yielded no definitive answer to date. CN could previously only be studied remotely, strongly hampering efforts to constrain its origin because of very limited spatial information. Thanks to the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft, which orbited comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko for 2 yr, we can investigate, for the first time, CN around a comet at high spatial and temporal resolution. On board Rosetta’s orbiter module, the high-resolution double-focusing mass spectrometer DFMS, part of the ROSINA instrument suite, analysed the neutral volatiles (including HCN and the CN radical) in the inner coma of the comet throughout that whole 2-yr phase and at variable cometocentric distances. From a thorough analysis of the full-mission data, the abundance of CN radicals in the cometary coma has been derived. Data from a close flyby event in 2015 February indicate a distributed origin for the CN radical in comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Other Institutions > Emeriti, Faculty of Science
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute
10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Space and Habitability (CSH)

UniBE Contributor:

Hänni, Nora Phillys; Altwegg, Kathrin; Pestoni, Boris Renato; Rubin, Martin; Schroeder I, Isaac Raedwald Hans Garfield; Schuhmann, Markus and Wampfler, Susanne


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering
500 Science > 530 Physics




Oxford University Press




Dora Ursula Zimmerer

Date Deposited:

03 Nov 2020 11:15

Last Modified:

03 Nov 2020 11:15

Publisher DOI:





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback