LABORATORY STUDIES ON SILICATES RELEVANT FOR THE PHYSICS OF TNOS


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Abstract

Silicates are one of the principal components present in Solar System objects. Silicates evolve in space modifying their physical properties according to the astronomical environments they go through. To characterise the nature of TNOs in the framework of the formation and evolution of the Solar System, experiments on structural transitions of silicates have been performed in the laboratory to simulate some of the processing suffered by the dust. The infrared spectral properties of possible silicate candidates thought to be present in TNOs have been studied. The results of thermal annealing of amorphous silicates and amorphisation of crystalline forsterite (pure-Mg olivine) by ion irradiation are presented. The observable properties of TNOs surfaces are inferred.

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