Detection of OH rotational emission from comet P/Halley in the far-infrared
We have detected the 2 II 3/2(J=5/2 → 3/2;+ → − parity) transition of OH in comet Halley at 119.44 μm and placed an upper limit to the line intensity of the − → + parity transition at 119.23 μm. The ratio of these lines is consistent with radiative pumping and inconsistent with photochemical pumping of the OH rotational levels. These far-infrared lines probe the inner regions of the comet coma where OH is produced through photo-dissociation of a parent (presumably H2O) molecule. Hence, these lines complement the 18 cm radio measurements which are sensitive to the outer regions of the comet coma. The OH production rate on May 3, 1986 was ~ 3.61029 molecules s−1.
Key wordscomet Halley far-infrared spectra OH production rates
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