Carbonization in Titan Tholins: implication for low albedo on surfaces of Centaurs and trans-Neptunian objects

  • Chaitanya Giri, Christopher P. McKay, Fred Goesmann, Nadine Schäfer, Xiang Li, Harald Steininger, William B. Brinckerhoff, Thomas Gautier, Joachim Reitner, Uwe J. Meierhenrich
  • International Journal of Astrobiology, December 2015, Cambridge University Press
  • DOI: 10.1017/s1473550415000439

Carbonization in Titan Tholins

What is it about?

The article "Carbonization in Titan Tholins" addresses the chemical conformation and composition of carbonaceous material that gives Trans-Neptunian Objects and Centaurs their peculiar dark color.

Why is it important?

We have demonstrated how complex macromolecular organic matter undergoes carbonisation, which leads to formation of graphitic aggregates within them.


Dr Chaitanya Giri
Earth-Life Science Institute

How small solar system bodies acquire their peculiar dark appearance has been a long-standing question. Our study indicates, graphite-enriched Titan tholin like macromolecular organic matter could be the causative factor for the dark appearance of small Solar System bodies. Also, the presence of graphite in macromolecular organic matter has strong astrobiological implications.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Chaitanya Giri