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Session 62 - Comet Hyakutake Encounter.
Display session, Wednesday, June 12
Great Hall,

[62.03] High Resolution Spectroscopy of Comet C/1996 B2 (Hyakutake) in the Near-Ultraviolet and Blue Spectral Range

R. Meier, D. Willnitz, L. M. Woodney, M. F. A'Hearn (Univ. of Maryland)

On March 25, 1996, we observed comet C/1996 B2 (Hyakutake) from Kitt Peak National Observatory (NOAO). We used the echelle spectrograph on the 4 m Cassegrain telescope and obtained spectra at a resolution of \Delta \lambda = 0.2 ÅEmploying a UV-sensitive CCD (F3KB) we were able to cover the spectral range from 3000 Å\ up to about 4700 ÅBy mapping the coma with the 1'' \times 7'' slit we also achieved limited spatial resolution.

Preliminary results from our observations are presented. At the time we observed comet C/Hyakutake the comet was at perigee with \Delta \approx 0.1 AU which corresponded to a spatial scale of only 70 km arcsec^-1. The intrinsicly high activity of the comet combined with the proximity to the earth rendered C/Hyakutake an ideal target to search for short-lived and so far undetected species. Short-lived species are usually not observable at larger geocentric distances because their slit-size averaged signal is simply too low. Of particular interest were the emission lines of NH and CH where we were looking for unblended emission lines from their deuterated counterparts ND and CD.

Program listing for Wednesday