28-30 September 2016
Tagungstätte Schloss Ringberg, Kreuth
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Observing home made comets: a being developed experiment


  • Dr. Alexey POTAPOV

Primary authors

  • Dr. Alexey POTAPOV (Laboratory Astrophysics Group of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena)



Cometary ices have been considered to be one of the possible sources of organic compounds responsible for the origin and early evolution of life on Earth [1]. A number of amino acids have been found in meteorites [2] and produced in interstellar ice analogues in the laboratory [3, 4]. On this background, there is in the last years an increasing interest to study the formation of complex organic molecules in interstellar ice analogues and their desorption from the ice surface.

Ices in the interstellar medium (ISM) form on the surfaces of dust particles, which are mainly carbon or silicate based. The role of the dust substrate in the above mentioned processes is poorly understood. For now, there are only a few research studies on the formation of simple molecules, CO and CO$_2$, in ices covering the dust (see [5] and references therein).

A new experiment in Jena will be devoted to study the evolution of optical and structural properties of ice analogues, composed of different molecular components and produced under ultrahigh vacuum (10$^-$$^1$$^0$ – 10$^-$$^1$$^1$ mbar) and low temperature (6 – 10 K) conditions on dust surfaces, altered by UV- and X-ray irradiation. We present our experimental setup and preliminary results on temperature programmed desorption and photo desorption of water ices deposited onto carbon and reference substrates.

[1] Oró J., Nature 190, 389 (1961) [2] Cronin J.R. and Pizzarello S., Adv. Space Res. 3, 5 (1983) [3] Bernstein M.P. et al., Nature, 416, 401 (2002) [4] Munoz Caro G.M. et al., Nature, 416, 403 (2002) [5] Sabri T. et al., A&A, 575, A76 (2015)