Dr. Nathan Roth

Dr. Nathan Roth

  • Research Associate
  • 301.286.8151
  • NASA/GSFC
  • Mail Code: 691
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: CATHOLIC UNIV OF AMERICA
  • Brief Bio

    Dr. Roth is a Research Associate in the Department of Physics, Catholic University of America. He works full-time in the Astrochemistry Laboratory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. He is an expert in near-infrared spectroscopy and millimeter-wave interferometry of small bodies, including cometary atmospheres.

    Research Interests

    Composition of Comet Nucleus Ices

    Comets are among the most primitive remnants of solar system formation, and are composed of molecular ices along with crystalline silicate dust. Their ices have undergone relatively little processing since their formation, and characterizing their native ice composition may provide important clues to the chemistry present in the protosolar nebula where (and when) they formed. We can infer the composition of the comet nucleus through remote sensing of coma gases as comets enter the inner solar system.

    My research focuses on molecular spectroscopy of comets at millimeter/sub-millimeter and near-infrared wavelengths. In particular, I am interested in using the complementary nature of observations at each wavelength to better understand the origin of gases in the coma. Coma molecules are interpreted as "parent" (i.e., subliming directly from the nucleus) or "product" (produced by photolysis or other processing in the coma). Understanding which molecules are parent vs. product enables us to infer the composition of the nucleus, and in turn, to better understand the formation of the solar system. Millimeter/sub-millimeter and near-infrared observations of comets are highly suited to this task.

    Near-infrared observations sample the inner coma, within a few thousand kilometers of the nucleus, and can provide the abundances and spatial associations (ascertained from derived column densities along the slit) of coma molecules. Observations at millimeter wavelengths with facilities such as ALMA sample a larger area of the coma and can provide detailed three-dimensional maps of coma molecules. When combined, observations at both wavelengths can dramatically improve our understanding of the molecular abundances and spatial associations in the coma. 

     

     

    Positions/Employment

    9/2021 - Present

    Research Associate

    Catholic University of America, Washington, DC
    9/2019 - 8/2021

    NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow

    Universities Space Research Association, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

    Education

    Ph.D. in Physics, August 2019, Missouri University of Science & Technology and University of Missouri-St. Louis Joint Physics Program, Rolla, MO


    Professional Societies

    American Astronomical Society, 2015 - Present
    Division for Planetary Sciences, 2015 - Present
    International Astronomical Union, 2021 - Present

    Awards

    NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship, 2016-2019, University of Missouri-St. Louis

    Ciel deGutis Award for Research Excellence, 2019, University of Missouri-St. Louis

    Publications

    Refereed

    Biver, N., D. Bockelée-Morvan, D. C. Lis, et al. D. Despois, R. Moreno, J. Crovisier, P. Colom, J. Boissier, N. Dello Russo, R. J. Vervack, M. Cordiner, S. Milam, N. X. Roth, B. P. Bonev, M. A. DiSanti, J. K. Davies, and H. Kawakita. 2021. "Molecular composition of short-period comets from millimetre-wave spectroscopy: 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, 38P/Stephan-Oterma, 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák, and 64P/Swift-Gehrels." Astronomy & Astrophysics, 651: A25 [10.1051/0004-6361/202140765]

    Biver, N., D. Bockelée-Morvan, J. Boissier, et al. R. Moreno, J. Crovisier, D. C. Lis, P. Colom, M. A. Cordiner, S. N. Milam, N. X. Roth, B. P. Bonev, N. Dello Russo, R. J. Vervack, and M. A. DiSanti. 2021. "Molecular composition of comet 46P/Wirtanen from millimetre-wave spectroscopy." Astronomy & Astrophysics, 648: A49 [10.1051/0004-6361/202040125]

    Roth, N., S. N. Milam, M. A. Cordiner, et al. D. Bockelée-Morvan, N. Biver, J. Boissier, D. C. Lis, A. J. Remijan, and S. B. Charnley. 2021. "Leveraging the ALMA Atacama Compact Array for Cometary Science: An Interferometric Survey of Comet C/2015 ER61 (PanSTARRS) and Evidence for a Distributed Source of Carbon Monosulfide." ApJ, (In Press)

    Roth, N., D. Bodewits, B. Bonev, et al. A. Cochran, M. Combi, M. Cordiner, N. D. Russo, M. DiSanti, S. Faggi, L. Feaga, Y. Fernandez, M. Lippi, A. McKay, M. Knight, S. Milam, J. W. Noonan, A. Remijan, and G. Villanueva. 2021. "The Crucial Role of Ground- and Space-Based Remote Sensing Studies of Cometary Volatiles in the Next Decade (2023-2032)." Vol. 53, Issue 4 (Planetary/Astrobiology Decadal Survey Whitepapers), 53 (4): [10.3847/25c2cfeb.14285328]

    Roth, N. X., B. P. Bonev, M. A. DiSanti, et al. N. Dello Russo, A. J. McKay, E. L. Gibb, M. Saki, Y. Khan, R. J. Vervack, H. Kawakita, A. L. Cochran, N. Biver, M. A. Cordiner, J. Crovisier, E. Jehin, and H. Weaver. 2021. "The Volatile Composition of the Inner Coma of Comet 46P/Wirtanen: Coordinated Observations Using iSHELL at the NASA-IRTF and Keck/NIRSPEC-2." The Planetary Science Journal, 2 (2): 54 [10.3847/psj/abd706/54]

    Roth, N. X., S. N. Milam, M. A. Cordiner, et al. D. Bockelée-Morvan, M. A. DiSanti, J. Boissier, N. Biver, J. Crovisier, N. D. Russo, B. P. Bonev, C. Qi, A. J. Remijan, S. B. Charnley, E. L. Gibb, M. D. Val-Borro, and E. Jehin. 2021. "Rapidly Varying Anisotropic Methanol (CH3OH) Production in the Inner Coma of Comet 46P/Wirtanen as Revealed by the ALMA Atacama Compact Array." The Planetary Science Journal, 2 (2): 55 [10.3847/psj/abdd3a]

    Bonev, B. P., N. Dello Russo, M. A. DiSanti, et al. E. C. Martin, G. Doppmann, R. J. Vervack, G. L. Villanueva, H. Kawakita, E. L. Gibb, M. R. Combi, N. X. Roth, M. Saki, A. J. McKay, M. A. Cordiner, D. Bodewits, J. Crovisier, N. Biver, A. L. Cochran, Y. Shou, Y. Khan, and K. Venkataramani. 2021. "First Comet Observations with NIRSPEC-2 at Keck: Outgassing Sources of Parent Volatiles and Abundances Based on Alternative Taxonomic Compositional Baselines in 46P/Wirtanen." The Planetary Science Journal, 2 (2): 45 [10.3847/psj/abd03c]

    McKay, A. J., M. A. DiSanti, A. L. Cochran, et al. B. P. Bonev, N. D. Russo, R. J. Vervack, E. Gibb, N. X. Roth, M. Saki, Y. Khan, and H. Kawakita. 2021. "Quantifying the Hypervolatile Abundances in Jupiter-family Comet 46P/Wirtanen." The Planetary Science Journal, 2 (1): 21 [10.3847/psj/abd71d]

    Khan, Y., E. L. Gibb, B. P. Bonev, et al. N. X. Roth, M. Saki, M. A. DiSanti, N. D. Russo, R. J. Vervack, A. J. McKay, M. R. Combi, Y. Shou, M. A. Cordiner, H. Kawakita, N. Fougere, and S. Protopapa. 2021. "Testing Short-term Variability and Sampling of Primary Volatiles in Comet 46P/Wirtanen." The Planetary Science Journal, 2 (1): 20 [10.3847/psj/abc95c]

    McKay, A. J., and N. X. Roth. 2021. "Organic Matter in Cometary Environments." Life, 11 (1): 37 [10.3390/life11010037]

    Saki, M., E. L. Gibb, B. P. Bonev, et al. N. X. Roth, M. A. DiSanti, N. D. Russo, R. J. Vervack, A. J. McKay, and H. Kawakita. 2020. "Carbonyl Sulfide (OCS): Detections in Comets C/2002 T7 (LINEAR), C/2015 ER61 (PanSTARRS), and 21P/Giacobini–Zinner and Stringent Upper Limits in 46P/Wirtanen." The Astronomical Journal, 160 (4): 184 [10.3847/1538-3881/aba522]

    Roth, N. X., D. Bodewits, B. Bonev, et al. A. Cochran, M. Combi, M. Cordiner, N. Dello Russo, M. DiSanti, S. Faggi, L. Feaga, Y. Fernandez, M. Lippi, A. McKay, M. Knight, S. Milam, J. W. Noonan, A. Remijan, and G. Villanueva. 2020. "The Crucial Role of Ground- and Space-Based Remote Sensing Studies of Cometary Volatiles in the Next Decade (2023-2032)." arXiv e-prints, arXiv:2007.08568.

    Cordiner, M. A., S. N. Milam, N. Biver, et al. D. Bockelée-Morvan, N. X. Roth, E. A. Bergin, E. Jehin, A. J. Remijan, S. B. Charnley, M. J. Mumma, J. Boissier, J. Crovisier, L. Paganini, Y.-J. Kuan, and D. C. Lis. 2020. "Unusually high CO abundance of the first active interstellar comet." Nature Astronomy, [10.1038/s41550-020-1087-2]

    Roth, N. X., E. L. Gibb, B. P. Bonev, et al. M. A. DiSanti, N. D. Russo, A. J. McKay, R. J. Vervack, H. Kawakita, M. Saki, N. Biver, D. Bockelée-Morvan, L. M. Feaga, N. Fougere, A. L. Cochran, M. Combi, and Y. Shou. 2020. "Probing the Evolutionary History of Comets: An Investigation of the Hypervolatiles CO, CH4, and C2H6 in the Jupiter-family Comet 21P/Giacobini–Zinner." The Astronomical Journal, 159 (2): 42 [10.3847/1538-3881/ab536b]

    Dello Russo, N., H. Kawakita, B. P. Bonev, et al. R. J. Vervack, E. L. Gibb, Y. Shinnaka, N. X. Roth, M. A. DiSanti, and A. J. McKay. 2020. "Post-perihelion volatile production and release from Jupiter-family comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková." Icarus, 335 (1): 113411 [10.1016/j.icarus.2019.113411]

    McKay, A. J., M. A. DiSanti, M. S. Kelley, et al. M. M. Knight, M. Womack, K. Wierzchos, O. H. Pinto, B. Bonev, G. L. Villanueva, N. D. Russo, A. L. Cochran, N. Biver, J. Bauer, R. J. Vervack, E. Gibb, N. Roth, and H. Kawakita. 2019. "The Peculiar Volatile Composition of CO-dominated Comet C/2016 R2 (PanSTARRS)." The Astronomical Journal, 158 (3): 128 [10.3847/1538-3881/ab32e4]

    DiSanti, M. A., B. P. Bonev, E. L. Gibb, et al. N. X. Roth, N. D. Russo, and R. J. Vervack. 2018. "Comet C/2013 V5 (Oukaimeden): Evidence for Depleted Organic Volatiles and Compositional Heterogeneity as Revealed through Infrared Spectroscopy." The Astronomical Journal, 156 (6): 258 [10.3847/1538-3881/aade87]

    Roth, N. X., E. L. Gibb, B. P. Bonev, et al. M. A. DiSanti, N. Dello Russo, R. J. Vervack, A. J. McKay, and H. Kawakita. 2018. "A Tale of “Two” Comets: The Primary Volatile Composition of Comet 2P/Encke Across Apparitions and Implications for Cometary Science." The Astronomical Journal, 156 (6): 251 [10.3847/1538-3881/aae0f7]

    DiSanti, M. A., B. P. Bonev, N. D. Russo, et al. R. J. Vervack, E. L. Gibb, N. X. Roth, A. J. McKay, H. Kawakita, L. M. Feaga, and H. A. Weaver. 2017. "Hypervolatiles in a Jupiter-family Comet: Observations of 45P/Honda–Mrkos–Pajdušáková Using iSHELL at the NASA-IRTF." The Astronomical Journal, 154 (6): 246 [10.3847/1538-3881/aa8639]

    Roth, N. X., E. L. Gibb, B. P. Bonev, et al. M. A. DiSanti, M. J. Mumma, G. L. Villanueva, and L. Paganini. 2017. "The Composition of Comet C/2012 K1 (PanSTARRS) and the Distribution of Primary Volatile Abundances Among Comets." The Astronomical Journal, 153 (4): 168 [10.3847/1538-3881/aa5d18]

    Brief Bio

    Dr. Roth is a Research Associate in the Department of Physics, Catholic University of America. He works full-time in the Astrochemistry Laboratory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. He is an expert in near-infrared spectroscopy and millimeter-wave interferometry of small bodies, including cometary atmospheres.

    Publications

    Refereed

    Biver, N., D. Bockelée-Morvan, D. C. Lis, et al. D. Despois, R. Moreno, J. Crovisier, P. Colom, J. Boissier, N. Dello Russo, R. J. Vervack, M. Cordiner, S. Milam, N. X. Roth, B. P. Bonev, M. A. DiSanti, J. K. Davies, and H. Kawakita. 2021. "Molecular composition of short-period comets from millimetre-wave spectroscopy: 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, 38P/Stephan-Oterma, 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák, and 64P/Swift-Gehrels." Astronomy & Astrophysics 651 A25 [10.1051/0004-6361/202140765]

    Biver, N., D. Bockelée-Morvan, J. Boissier, et al. R. Moreno, J. Crovisier, D. C. Lis, P. Colom, M. A. Cordiner, S. N. Milam, N. X. Roth, B. P. Bonev, N. Dello Russo, R. J. Vervack, and M. A. DiSanti. 2021. "Molecular composition of comet 46P/Wirtanen from millimetre-wave spectroscopy." Astronomy & Astrophysics 648 A49 [10.1051/0004-6361/202040125]

    Roth, N., S. N. Milam, M. A. Cordiner, et al. D. Bockelée-Morvan, N. Biver, J. Boissier, D. C. Lis, A. J. Remijan, and S. B. Charnley. 2021. "Leveraging the ALMA Atacama Compact Array for Cometary Science: An Interferometric Survey of Comet C/2015 ER61 (PanSTARRS) and Evidence for a Distributed Source of Carbon Monosulfide." ApJ (In Press)

    Roth, N., D. Bodewits, B. Bonev, et al. A. Cochran, M. Combi, M. Cordiner, N. D. Russo, M. DiSanti, S. Faggi, L. Feaga, Y. Fernandez, M. Lippi, A. McKay, M. Knight, S. Milam, J. W. Noonan, A. Remijan, and G. Villanueva. 2021. "The Crucial Role of Ground- and Space-Based Remote Sensing Studies of Cometary Volatiles in the Next Decade (2023-2032)." Vol. 53, Issue 4 (Planetary/Astrobiology Decadal Survey Whitepapers) 53 (4): [10.3847/25c2cfeb.14285328]

    Roth, N. X., B. P. Bonev, M. A. DiSanti, et al. N. Dello Russo, A. J. McKay, E. L. Gibb, M. Saki, Y. Khan, R. J. Vervack, H. Kawakita, A. L. Cochran, N. Biver, M. A. Cordiner, J. Crovisier, E. Jehin, and H. Weaver. 2021. "The Volatile Composition of the Inner Coma of Comet 46P/Wirtanen: Coordinated Observations Using iSHELL at the NASA-IRTF and Keck/NIRSPEC-2." The Planetary Science Journal 2 (2): 54 [10.3847/psj/abd706/54]

    Roth, N. X., S. N. Milam, M. A. Cordiner, et al. D. Bockelée-Morvan, M. A. DiSanti, J. Boissier, N. Biver, J. Crovisier, N. D. Russo, B. P. Bonev, C. Qi, A. J. Remijan, S. B. Charnley, E. L. Gibb, M. D. Val-Borro, and E. Jehin. 2021. "Rapidly Varying Anisotropic Methanol (CH3OH) Production in the Inner Coma of Comet 46P/Wirtanen as Revealed by the ALMA Atacama Compact Array." The Planetary Science Journal 2 (2): 55 [10.3847/psj/abdd3a]

    Bonev, B. P., N. Dello Russo, M. A. DiSanti, et al. E. C. Martin, G. Doppmann, R. J. Vervack, G. L. Villanueva, H. Kawakita, E. L. Gibb, M. R. Combi, N. X. Roth, M. Saki, A. J. McKay, M. A. Cordiner, D. Bodewits, J. Crovisier, N. Biver, A. L. Cochran, Y. Shou, Y. Khan, and K. Venkataramani. 2021. "First Comet Observations with NIRSPEC-2 at Keck: Outgassing Sources of Parent Volatiles and Abundances Based on Alternative Taxonomic Compositional Baselines in 46P/Wirtanen." The Planetary Science Journal 2 (2): 45 [10.3847/psj/abd03c]

    McKay, A. J., M. A. DiSanti, A. L. Cochran, et al. B. P. Bonev, N. D. Russo, R. J. Vervack, E. Gibb, N. X. Roth, M. Saki, Y. Khan, and H. Kawakita. 2021. "Quantifying the Hypervolatile Abundances in Jupiter-family Comet 46P/Wirtanen." The Planetary Science Journal 2 (1): 21 [10.3847/psj/abd71d]

    Khan, Y., E. L. Gibb, B. P. Bonev, et al. N. X. Roth, M. Saki, M. A. DiSanti, N. D. Russo, R. J. Vervack, A. J. McKay, M. R. Combi, Y. Shou, M. A. Cordiner, H. Kawakita, N. Fougere, and S. Protopapa. 2021. "Testing Short-term Variability and Sampling of Primary Volatiles in Comet 46P/Wirtanen." The Planetary Science Journal 2 (1): 20 [10.3847/psj/abc95c]

    McKay, A. J., and N. X. Roth. 2021. "Organic Matter in Cometary Environments." Life 11 (1): 37 [10.3390/life11010037]

    Saki, M., E. L. Gibb, B. P. Bonev, et al. N. X. Roth, M. A. DiSanti, N. D. Russo, R. J. Vervack, A. J. McKay, and H. Kawakita. 2020. "Carbonyl Sulfide (OCS): Detections in Comets C/2002 T7 (LINEAR), C/2015 ER61 (PanSTARRS), and 21P/Giacobini–Zinner and Stringent Upper Limits in 46P/Wirtanen." The Astronomical Journal 160 (4): 184 [10.3847/1538-3881/aba522]

    Roth, N. X., D. Bodewits, B. Bonev, et al. A. Cochran, M. Combi, M. Cordiner, N. Dello Russo, M. DiSanti, S. Faggi, L. Feaga, Y. Fernandez, M. Lippi, A. McKay, M. Knight, S. Milam, J. W. Noonan, A. Remijan, and G. Villanueva. 2020. "The Crucial Role of Ground- and Space-Based Remote Sensing Studies of Cometary Volatiles in the Next Decade (2023-2032)." arXiv e-prints arXiv:2007.08568

    Cordiner, M. A., S. N. Milam, N. Biver, et al. D. Bockelée-Morvan, N. X. Roth, E. A. Bergin, E. Jehin, A. J. Remijan, S. B. Charnley, M. J. Mumma, J. Boissier, J. Crovisier, L. Paganini, Y.-J. Kuan, and D. C. Lis. 2020. "Unusually high CO abundance of the first active interstellar comet." Nature Astronomy [10.1038/s41550-020-1087-2]

    Roth, N. X., E. L. Gibb, B. P. Bonev, et al. M. A. DiSanti, N. D. Russo, A. J. McKay, R. J. Vervack, H. Kawakita, M. Saki, N. Biver, D. Bockelée-Morvan, L. M. Feaga, N. Fougere, A. L. Cochran, M. Combi, and Y. Shou. 2020. "Probing the Evolutionary History of Comets: An Investigation of the Hypervolatiles CO, CH4, and C2H6 in the Jupiter-family Comet 21P/Giacobini–Zinner." The Astronomical Journal 159 (2): 42 [10.3847/1538-3881/ab536b]

    Dello Russo, N., H. Kawakita, B. P. Bonev, et al. R. J. Vervack, E. L. Gibb, Y. Shinnaka, N. X. Roth, M. A. DiSanti, and A. J. McKay. 2020. "Post-perihelion volatile production and release from Jupiter-family comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková." Icarus 335 (1): 113411 [10.1016/j.icarus.2019.113411]

    McKay, A. J., M. A. DiSanti, M. S. Kelley, et al. M. M. Knight, M. Womack, K. Wierzchos, O. H. Pinto, B. Bonev, G. L. Villanueva, N. D. Russo, A. L. Cochran, N. Biver, J. Bauer, R. J. Vervack, E. Gibb, N. Roth, and H. Kawakita. 2019. "The Peculiar Volatile Composition of CO-dominated Comet C/2016 R2 (PanSTARRS)." The Astronomical Journal 158 (3): 128 [10.3847/1538-3881/ab32e4]

    DiSanti, M. A., B. P. Bonev, E. L. Gibb, et al. N. X. Roth, N. D. Russo, and R. J. Vervack. 2018. "Comet C/2013 V5 (Oukaimeden): Evidence for Depleted Organic Volatiles and Compositional Heterogeneity as Revealed through Infrared Spectroscopy." The Astronomical Journal 156 (6): 258 [10.3847/1538-3881/aade87]

    Roth, N. X., E. L. Gibb, B. P. Bonev, et al. M. A. DiSanti, N. Dello Russo, R. J. Vervack, A. J. McKay, and H. Kawakita. 2018. "A Tale of “Two” Comets: The Primary Volatile Composition of Comet 2P/Encke Across Apparitions and Implications for Cometary Science." The Astronomical Journal 156 (6): 251 [10.3847/1538-3881/aae0f7]

    DiSanti, M. A., B. P. Bonev, N. D. Russo, et al. R. J. Vervack, E. L. Gibb, N. X. Roth, A. J. McKay, H. Kawakita, L. M. Feaga, and H. A. Weaver. 2017. "Hypervolatiles in a Jupiter-family Comet: Observations of 45P/Honda–Mrkos–Pajdušáková Using iSHELL at the NASA-IRTF." The Astronomical Journal 154 (6): 246 [10.3847/1538-3881/aa8639]

    Roth, N. X., E. L. Gibb, B. P. Bonev, et al. M. A. DiSanti, M. J. Mumma, G. L. Villanueva, and L. Paganini. 2017. "The Composition of Comet C/2012 K1 (PanSTARRS) and the Distribution of Primary Volatile Abundances Among Comets." The Astronomical Journal 153 (4): 168 [10.3847/1538-3881/aa5d18]

                                                                                                                                                                                            
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