Organic Composition of C/1999 S4 (LINEAR): A Comet Formed Near Jupiter?

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Science  18 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5520, pp. 1334-1339
DOI: 10.1126/science.1058929

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In the current paradigm, Oort cloud comets formed in the giant planets' region of the solar nebula, where temperatures and other conditions varied greatly. The measured compositions of four such comets (Halley, Hyakutake, Hale-Bopp, and Lee) are consistent with formation from interstellar ices in the cold nebular region beyond Uranus. The composition of comet C/1999 S4 (LINEAR) differs greatly, which suggests that its ices condensed from processed nebular gas, probably in the Jupiter-Saturn region. Its unusual organic composition may require reevaluation of the prebiotic organic material delivered to the young Earth by comets.

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