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

[62.10] WIYN spectropolarimetry of the Inner Nucleus and Coma of Comet Hyakutake C/1996B2

W. M. Harris, K. Wood, G. K. Fox (U. Wisconsin)

High-precision spectropolarimetry of Comet Hyakutake C/1996B2 was obtained on the nights of 10/11 Mar, 30/31 Mar, and 31 Mar/1 Apr using the Wisconsin HPOL spectropolarimeter at the WIYN telescope on Kitt Peak. The wavelength range was 3200 - 10500 Ang with 10 Ang resolution. The observations used 1.5x3 arcsec apertures centered on the nucleus and 30 arcsec antisunward into the coma. Polarization in the continuum was about 6and 27The high precision, high spatial resolution of these observations reveals several polarimetric features seen for the first time, including: the continuum polarization is smaller in the inner nucleus than it is in the coma; and (2) the continuum polarization in the inner nucleus decreases from the red into the blue. These results will be discussed in terms of comet dust optical properties and models of the inner coma.

Astronomical polarimetry at the University of Wisconsin is supported by NASA contracts NAS5-26777 and NAG5-647.

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