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N. Dello Russo (CUA/GSFC), M. J. Mumma (NASA/GSFC), M. A. DiSanti (CUA/GSFC), K. Magee-Sauer (Rowan Univ.), R. Novak (Iona College), T. W. Rettig (Univ. of Notre Dame)
Extinction by the Earth's atmosphere has historically prevented detection of water in astronomical objects from ground-based observatories. We developed an approach which targets water lines in non-resonance (hot-band) fluorescence, and applied it to comets C/1996 B2 Hyakutake and C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp. Ro-vibrational lines from three hot-bands were detected in these comets using the cryogenic grating spectrometer (CSHELL) at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Production rates and rotational temperatures were measured for water in both comets within 1.5 AU of the sun. Comparison of spatial profiles for water and dust suggests that most water was released directly from the nucleus for both comets on the dates measured.