Thermal emission from the dust coma of comet Hale-Bopp and the composition of the silicate grains

M. S. Hanner, R. D. Gehrz, D. E. Harker, T. L. Hayward, D. K. Lynch, C. C. Mason, R. W. Russell, D. M. Williams, D. H. Wooden, C. E. Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


The dust coma of comet Hale-Bopp was observed in the thermal infrared over a wide range in solar heating (R = 4.9-0.9 AU) and over the full wavelength range from 3 μm to 160 μm. Unusual early activity produced an extensive coma containing small warm refractory grains; already at 4.9 AU, the 10 μm silicate emission feature was strong and the color temperature was 30% above the equilibrium blackbody temperature. Near perihelion the high color temperature, strong silicate feature, and high albedo indicated a smaller mean grain size than in other comets. The 8-13 μm spectra revealed a silicate emission feature similar in shape to that seen in P/Halley and several new and long period comets. Detailed spectral structure in the feature was consistent over time and with different instruments; the main peaks occur at 9.3, 10.0 and 11.2 μm. These peaks can be identified with olivine and pyroxene minerals, linking the comet dust to the anhydrous chondritic aggregate interplanetary dust particles. Spectra at 16-40 μm taken with the ISO SWS displayed pronounced emission peaks due to Mg-rich crystalline olivine, consistent with the 11.2 μm peak.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-264
Number of pages18
JournalEarth, Moon and Planets
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 1997


  • Comet Hale-Bopp
  • Dust
  • Infrared
  • Silicates


Dive into the research topics of 'Thermal emission from the dust coma of comet Hale-Bopp and the composition of the silicate grains'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this