Earth, Moon, and Planets

, Volume 90, Issue 1, pp 5–14

The 1995–2002 Long-Term Monitoring of Comet C/1995 O1 (HALE–BOPP) at Radio Wavelength


  • Nicolas Biver
    • ESA/ESTEC, Sci-Sb
    • LESIA, Observatoire de Paris
  • Dominique Bockelée-Morvan
    • LESIA, Observatoire de Paris
  • Pierre Colom
    • LESIA, Observatoire de Paris
  • Jacques Crovisier
    • LESIA, Observatoire de Paris
  • Florence Henry
    • LESIA, Observatoire de Paris
  • Emmanuel Lellouch
    • LESIA, Observatoire de Paris
  • Anders Winnberg
    • Onsala Space Observatory
  • Lars E.B. Johansson
    • Onsala Space Observatory
  • Marcus Gunnarsson
    • Uppsala Astronomiska Observatorium
  • Hans Rickman
    • Uppsala Astronomiska Observatorium
  • Fredrik Rantakyrö
    • European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova
  • John K. Davies
  • William R.F. Dent
  • Gabriel Paubert
    • IRAM
  • Raphaël Moreno
    • IRAM
  • Jörn Wink
    • IRAM
  • Didier Despois
    • Observatoire de Bordeaux
  • Dominic J. Benford
    • Caltech
  • Matt Gardner
    • Caltech
  • Dariusz C. Lis
    • Caltech
  • David Mehringer
    • Caltech
  • Thomas G. Phillips
    • Caltech
  • Heike Rauer
    • DLR, Institut für Planetenerkundung

DOI: 10.1023/A:1021599915018

Cite this article as:
Biver, N., Bockelée-Morvan, D., Colom, P. et al. Earth Moon Planet (2002) 90: 5. doi:10.1023/A:1021599915018


The bright comet Hale–Bopp provided the first opportunity to follow the outgassing rates of a number of molecular species over a large range of heliocentric distances. We present the results of our observing campaign at radio wavelengths which began in August 1995 and ended in January 2002. The observations were carried out with the telescopes of Nançay, IRAM, JCMT, CSO and, since September 1997, SEST. The lines of nine molecules (OH, CO, HCN, CH3OH, H2CO, H2S, CS, CH3CN and HNC) were monitored. CS, H2S, H2CO, CH3CN were detected up to rh= 3–4 AU from the Sun, while HCN and CH3OH were detected up to 6 AU. CO, which is the main driver of cometary activity at heliocentric distances larger than 3–4 AU, was last detected in August 2001, at rh= 14 AU.

The gas production rates obtained from this programme contain important information on the nature of cometary ices, their thermal properties and sublimation mechanisms.Line shapes allow to measure gas expansion velocities, which, at large heliocentric distances, might be directly connected to the temperature of the nucleus surface. Inferred expansion velocity of the gas varied as rh-0.4 within 7 AU from the Sun, but remained close to 0.4 km s-1 further away. The CO spectra obtained at large rhare strongly blueshifted and indicative of an important day-to-night asymmetry in outgassing and expansion velocity. The kinetic temperature of the coma, estimated from the relative intensities of the CH3OH and CO lines, increased with decreasing rh, from about 10 K at 7 AU to 110 K around perihelion.

C/1995 O1 (Hale–Bopp)cometsmoleculesradio observations
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002