Earth, Moon, and Planets

, Volume 90, Issue 1, pp 61-65

First online:

From Hale–Bopp's Activity to Properties of its Nucleus

  • E. KührtAffiliated withInstitute of Planetary Research and Space Sensor Technology, DLR

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Because of the outstanding brightness of comet Hale–Boppreliable production rates of several moleculescould be measured over a wide range of heliocentric distances.The H2O-activity of a comet is closelyconnected with the energy balance and the composition of itssurface. It is often assumed that more volatilemolecules originate from subsurface regions. The CO observationsprovided an important data base for abetter understanding of this matter. A thermal model has beenapplied to calculate gas production rates ofHale–Bopp. The strong obliquity of the spin axis causespronounced seasonal effects and, therefore, anasymmetry of water activity with respect to perihelion. By comparingmeasured and calculated rates properties of the nucleus have been derived.

Cometary nucleus CO-production Hale–Bopp's activity thermal model water production