Observations of Carbon Monoxide in Comet Hale-Bopp

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Science  23 Feb 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5252, pp. 1110-1113
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5252.1110


The recently discovered comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1) sports a bright dust coma even though it is still far from the sun (presently 6 astronomical units). This feature has attracted considerable interest in the public and scientific arenas. The comet is headed toward perihelion at 0.92 astronomical unit in April 1997 and is widely expected to then become a spectacular naked-eye comet. With millimeter-wave observations, carbon monoxide (CO) has been identified as the driver for the early activity observed in Hale-Bopp.