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Investigating the composition of comets using ground-based optical observations

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Comets are some of the most pristine remnants from the early Solar System. As such, cometary ices retain invaluable information about the conditions prevailing in the Solar System at the time of planetary formation. By comparing the composition of large number of comets, we can probe composition differences between comets coming from different reservoirs, which may have formed at different distances from the Sun. This is the objective of the TRAPPIST comet survey. Between 2010 and 2016, we gathered a very high quality and homogeneous data set of more than 35 bright comets. I will present the results of our survey, trying to answer the following questions: Can we define classes of comets based on their composition? Are composition differences between comets of pristine of evolutionary nature? Is the composition of comets linked to their place of formation in the Solar System? I will also discuss the recent observations of the first two interstellar comets and how their composition compares to Solar System comets.

This talk is part of the Exoplanet Meetings series.

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