The infrared spectral energy distribution and polarization of comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp) during 1997

Charles E. Woodward, R. D. Gehrz, C. G. Mason, T. J. Jones, D. M. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Comets, such as C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp), are important to studies of the origins of the solar system because they are believed to be frozen reservoirs of the most primitive pre-solar dust grains and ices. Here, we report 1.2-18.5 μm infrared (IR) spectrophotometric and polarimetric observations of comet Hale-Bopp. Our measurements of the spectral energy distribution (SED) and IR polarization near perhelion passage suggest that emission from the coma was dominated by scattering and thermal emission from sub-micron sized dust grains. Hale-Bopp's surprising brightness may have been largely a result of the properties of its coma grains rather than the size of its nucleus. The thermal emission continuum from the grains had a superheat of S = T(color)/T(BB) ≥ 1.7, the peak of the 10 μm silicate emission feature was 1.7 mags above the carbon grain continuum, and the albedo (reflectivity) of the grains was ≥ 0.4 at a scattering angles, θ ≥ 135°.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-222
Number of pages6
JournalEarth, Moon and Planets
Volume81
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998

Keywords

  • Comets
  • Dust
  • Infrared spectra

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