Due to the outstanding brightness of Comet Hale-Bopp measurements of water production rates were possible over a wide range of heliocentric distances (up to 5 AU). A variety of observing techniques have been used, including radio observations, IR- and UV-measurements. The H2O-production of a comet is closely connected with the energy balance and the composition of its surface. By comparing measured and calculated rates it is possible to derive properties of the nucleus. The results of this study demonstrate the importance of seasonal effects and show that a low thermal conductivity enhances the water production rate. The observations can be matched with a relatively low, lunar-like thermal conductivity. A lower size limit for the nucleus of Hale-Bopp is derived.
KeywordsWater Production Heliocentric Distance Spin Axis Seasonal Effect Lunar Regolith
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