HIRMES science - comets
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Stefanie Milam
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SOFIA’s new instrument, HIRMES, will offer new capabilities for studies of some of the most pristine objects in the solar system, comets. HIRMES is unique in its ability to access water-ice bands with significant sensitivity to determine the crystalline to amorphous abundance ratio in comets, as well as the wavelength coverage to determine the dust size. Understanding the compositions of comets and related bodies in their source reservoirs will reveal the conditions by which they were formed as well as the native volatile composition of key species. Additionally, HIRMES high spectral mode and wavelength coverage coupled with enhanced sensitivity for SOFIA’s instrument suite allows for new studies of cometary D/H ratios. Isotope fractionation ratios in primitive materials can be employed as powerful tools for understanding the origin, formation, and evolution of the Solar System as well as provide insight into the origins of Earth’s oceans. Details of these measurements and anticipated results will be presented

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