Ultraviolet Spectroscopy and the Composition of Cometary Ice

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Science  28 Jan 1983:
Vol. 219, Issue 4583, pp. 347-354
DOI: 10.1126/science.219.4583.347


Our current knowledge of the composition of the cormetary nucleus is largely inferred from observations of the gas and dust comae that are produced by sublimation of cometary ice when a comet is near the sun. During the past decade, far-ultraviolet spectroscopy from above the terrestrial atmosphere has shed new light on the physics and chemistry of the gaseous component of the coma. The advent of interplanetary missions to Halley's comet in 1986 and the development of a new generation of earth-orbiting observatories promise further insights into the nature of these frozen remnants of the primordial solar system.