Measurements of 12C/13C, 14N/15N, and 32S/34S Ratios in Comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1)

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Science  03 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5335, pp. 90-93
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5335.90

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The 12C/13C,14N/15N, and 32S/34S isotope ratios in comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1) were determined through observations taken with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. Measurements of rare isotopes in HCN and CS revealed isotope ratios of H12CN/H13CN = 111 ± 12, HC14N/HC15N = 323 ± 46, and C32S/C34S = 27 ± 3. Within the measurement uncertainties, the isotopic ratios are consistent with solar system values. The cometary volatiles thus have an origin in the solar system and show no evidence for an interstellar component.

  • * Visiting astronomer at the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, which is operated by The Joint Astronomy Centre on behalf of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, and the National Research Council of Canada.

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