DPS Meeting, Madison, October 1998
Session 31P. Comets II
Contributed Poster Session, Wednesday, October 14, 1998, 5:10-6:10pm, Hall of Ideas

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[31P.08] Correlations between CO and HCN Production Rates and Absolute Visual Magnitudes in Comet Hale-Bopp

A. Homich, M. Womack (St. Cloud State Univ.), W.T. Uhl (Yale Univ.)

The analysis of measured production rates of CO and HCN in Comet Hale-Bopp over a large range of heliocentric distances has opened the possibility of establishing a correlation between gas production and heliocentric magnitude. Although the visual magnitude of Hale-Bopp was predominantly due to sunlight reflected from dust in the coma, the cometary activity was driven by sublimation of gases. Thus, such a relationship is important to understanding the generation of comae. This is particularly the case at large heliocentric distances (> 4-5 AU) when CO is hypothesized to be the dominant sublimation driver. We computed production rates from millimeter-wavelength spectra of CO and HCN, and we calculated absolute visual magnitudes from reported apparent magnitudes for the bulk of Hale-Bopp's perihelion passage. These values were compared for the same heliocentric distances and used to search for correlations between gas productivity and visual magnitude. The results are presented and implications for models of cometary activity in Hale-Bopp and other comets are discussed.

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The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: womack@r2d2.stcloudstate.edu

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