Europlanet Science Congress 2020
Virtual meeting
21 September – 9 October 2020
Europlanet Science Congress 2020
Virtual meeting
21 September – 9 October 2020
EPSC Abstracts
Vol.14, EPSC2020-846, 2020
Europlanet Science Congress 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Spectrosopy of interstellar comet 2I/Borisov with VLT X-Shooter

Piotr Guzik and Michał Drahus
Piotr Guzik and Michał Drahus
  • Jagiellonian University, Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science, Astronomical Observatory, Poland (


During the journey through the solar system, interstellar comet 2I/Borisov has been observed spectroscopically by most of the largest telescopes on Earth, enabling comparative studies of its chemical composition versus solar system comets. Already a few weeks after the discovery, the detection of the CN (0-0 band) in the coma has been reported [1]. Subsequent detections of C2 suggested a significant depletion of this molecule [2,3], however, later evolution of C2 placed it close to the typical values [4]. Pre-discovery images of 2I/Borisov showing this object to be active when far away from the sun indicated that its activity is driven by low-temperature volatiles, later confirmed by the detection of a high abundance of CO [5,6]. High abundance was also reported for NH2 [4]. The water production rates derived from the detection of [OI] 6300 A line [7] were consistent with SWIFT/UVOT observations [8].

Here we report our spectroscopic observations of 2I/Borisov from VLT X-Shooter. We collected over 10 hours of data on UT 2020 January 28th, 30th, and 31st obtaining the deep spectrum of this object taken around the time of its maximum brightness. The spectrum covers an unprecedented wavelength range of 300 - 2500 nm that comprises numerous characteristic cometary emissions. The excellent sensitivity of the spectrum, combined with the decent spectral resolution provided by X-Shooter over the entire, enormous wavelength range makes the collected material unique.


Authors are grateful for support from the National Science Centre of Poland through SONATA BIS grant number 2016/22/E/ST9/00109 to M.D.



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[8] Xing, Z., Bodewits, D, Noonan, J. et al.: Water Production Rates and Activity of Interstellar Comet 2I/Borisov, ApJL, Vol. 893, L48, (2020)

How to cite: Guzik, P. and Drahus, M.: Spectrosopy of interstellar comet 2I/Borisov with VLT X-Shooter, Europlanet Science Congress 2020, online, 21 September–9 Oct 2020, EPSC2020-846,, 2020