High-dispersion Spectroscopic Observations Of 8P/Tuttle With VLT/CRIRES

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We present near-infrared observations of organic molecules in comet 8P/Tuttle.
Comet 8P/Tuttle is a Halley-type comet and its last perihelion was in early January 2008. Our observations were carried out on January 28 and February 4 using CRIRES (CRyogenic high-resolution InfraRed Echelle Spectrograph) at the Very Large Telescope (VLT). We used a 0.2" slit which provided a spectral resolving power of 80,000. We detected H2O, OH, HCN, C2H2 on Jan 28, and H2O, OH, CH4, C2H6, and CH3OH on Feb 4.
We find that 8P/Tuttle is depleted in HCN, C2H2 and C2H6 relative to H2O compared with most other Oort cloud comets studied to date. Perhaps these depletions suggest that 8P/Tuttle formed in a different region from most Oort cloud comets, but it is also possible that the depletions are caused by repeated passages through the inner solar system.

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