Photometric Behavior of Comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1) Before Perihelion

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Science  28 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5308, pp. 1913-1915
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5308.1913

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Narrowband photometric observations of comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1) between 25 July 1995 and 15 February 1997 indicated gas and dust production rates of 20 and 100 times greater, respectively, than observed at the same heliocentric distances for comet P/Halley in 1985. Hale-Bopp produced dust at a rate greater than has been observed for any other comet at any distance since at least 1977. On the basis of the observed production rate of the hydroxyl molecule, the calculated minimum effective diameter of Hale-Bopp's nucleus is 17 kilometers, but the actual diameter of the nucleus is likely to be at least two to three times larger. The chemical composition of Hale-Bopp is consistent with that of other long-period comets originating from the Oort Cloud.

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