Infrared Spectroscopy of the ν3 Band of Hydrogen Cyanide in Comet C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp

Karen Magee-Sauer, Michael J. Mumma, Michael A. Disanti, Neil Dello Russo, Terrence W. Rettig

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Hydrogen cyanide (HCN) was detected in Comet Hale-Bopp at infrared wavelengths near 3.0 μm on four dates between Feb 24.0 and May 1.0 1997 using high-resolution spectroscopy. The average rotational temperature retrieved for the (001) vibrational level on UT 1997 April 29.9 was (95±6) K near the nucleus, increasing to (122±8) K in the intermediate coma (4″-10″ off the nucleus). The HCN production rate on April 29.9 was (3.09±0.13)×1028 molecules s-1. When compared with the water production rate obtained from direct measurements of the H2O 100-010 band on common observation dates using the same instrument and data processing algorithms, the weighted average (for the four dates) of the relative abundance (HCN/H2O) was (0.40±0.05)%. The measured spatial distribution for HCN is consistent with its release at the nucleus - no significant contribution from a distributed source is required within 10,000 km of the nucleus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-508
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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