DPS Meeting, Madison, October 1998
Session 29. Comets I
Contributed Oral Parallel Session, Wednesday, October 14, 1998, 2:00-3:20pm, Madison Ballroom C

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[29.04] The 830--1120 A Spectrum of a Bright Comet: First Results on Hale-Bopp

S. Alan Stern (SwRI/Boulder), Michel C. Festou (SwRI/Boulder), David C. Slater (SwRI/San Antonio), Joel Wm. Parker (SwRI/Boulder), Michael F. A'Hearn (U. Maryland)

The EUVS planetary sounding rocket spectrograph was flown on 29 March 1997 from White Sands, New Mexico to observe comet Hale-Bopp in the bandpass from 830--1120 Å. At the time of launch the comet was near perihelion, 0.92 AU from the Sun, 1.34 AU from Earth, and traveling at a heliocentric radial velocity of +0.70 km/s. EUVS obtained its primary spectra of the comet at resolution near 3 Å, collecting 9340 counts over approximately 330 seconds of integration time. To our knowledge, the resulting dataset is both the most sensitive and the highest spectral resolution probe of a comet in the UV below 1200 Å\ yet achieved. The spectrum includes significant detections which we tentatively attribute to due to 834 Å\ 0 II, the 1026 Å\ H I Lyman \beta/O I blend, and 989 Å\ O I; we will also discuss evidence for Argon signatures, as well as two additional, yet to be identified features. We will describe the EUVS Hale-Bopp experiment and its results, including feature brightnesses, corresponding columns, and species abundance ratios in the inner coma. In addition to its value for providing insight into comets in general, and Hale-Bopp in particular, this spectrum is serving as an excellent input for New Millennium Deep Space 1/MICAS and Rosetta/ALICE UV observation planning below 1200 Å.

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