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Ground-Based Thermal Infrared Observations of Comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1) During 1996

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Science  28 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5308, pp. 1907-1909
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5308.1907

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Abstract

Thermal infrared (IR) imaging and spectroscopy of comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1) during June, August, and September 1996 traced the development of the dust coma several months before perihelion. Images revealed nightly variations in the brightness of the inner coma from 1 to 12 June that were correlated with the appearance of a northward-pointing jet. The central IR flux increased by a factor of 8 between 1 June and 30 September, and the September data showed IR jets that corresponded to similar structures that were visible in reflected sunlight at shorter wavelengths. At all epochs, 8- to 13-micrometer spectra of the central coma revealed a strong silicate emission feature, including an 11.2-micrometer feature indicative of crystalline olivine, even when the comet was at a heliocentric distance of 4.1 astronomical units.

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