The Spectrum of Comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1) Observed with the Infrared Space Observatory at 2.9 Astronomical Units from the Sun

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Science  28 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5308, pp. 1904-1907
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5308.1904

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Comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1) was observed at wavelengths from 2.4 to 195 micrometers with the Infrared Space Observatory when the comet was about 2.9 astronomical units (AU) from the sun. The main observed volatiles that sublimated from the nucleus ices were water, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide in a ratio (by number) of 10:6:2. These species are also the main observed constituents of ices in dense interstellar molecular clouds; this observation strengthens the links between cometary and interstellar material. Several broad emission features observed in the 7- to 45-micrometer region suggest the presence of silicates, particularly magnesium-rich crystalline olivine. These features are similar to those observed in the dust envelopes of Vega-type stars.

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