The Spectrum of Comet Austin from 910 to 1180 Å

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Science  25 Jan 1991:
Vol. 251, Issue 4992, pp. 408-410
DOI: 10.1126/science.251.4992.408


A spectrum of comet Austin (1988 c1) has been obtained from 910 to 1180 Å. Three bright emission lines were detected, including a forbidden oxygen line (1128 Å), which are attributable to radiative pumping of neutral oxygen by solar Lyman β. The relative strengths of the observed features should prove to be a useful diagnostic of the physical conditions and radiation fields in cometary comae. In addition, the absence of strong spectral features from highly volatile species such as He, Ar, or N2 can be used to place constraints on the thermal environment under which the comet was formed and has been processed.

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